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Ethiopia: Day of mourning for late President Girma

Senior statesman, who served 12 years as nation's president, died of natural causes at age 94

19.12.2018
Ethiopia: Day of mourning for late President Girma Former Ethiopian President Girma Woldegiorgis

By Addis Getachew

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

A day of mourning is being observed across Ethiopia on Wednesday for former President Girma Woldegiorgis, who passed away on Friday.

Girma, 94, died of natural causes while under intensive medical care at the Defense Forces hospital in the capital Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian flags will be flying at half-mast across the country, at Ethiopian foreign missions, and on Ethiopian ships.

The body of the late president will be laid to rest today at the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Mourners are already flocking to the Millennium Hall in the city, where Girma is lying in state for people to show their last respects.

Girma is a hugely and truly respected figure who served three regimes, starting during the imperial period as a military officer, and as of 1957, the longtime head of the Ethiopian civil aviation authority.

He was an avid supporter of peaceful co-existence with neighboring Eritrea, where he spent many years as a soldier when it was part of Ethiopia.

He served as president for a dozen years, from 2001 to 2013.

Born in the capital Addis Ababa in 1923, Girma was a staunch environmentalist who in 1991 founded a local environmental protection association, Lem Ethiopia.

Girma is credited for not signing any execution orders for death row inmates.

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