The body of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zanawi has left Brussels where it was due to travel on an Ethiopian Airlines plane to the capital Addis Ababa.

The silver hearse accompanied by a Police escort left the Saint-Luc University Hospital in Brussels where sources say he died of a sudden infection. It is still unclear as the nature of the illness and treatment. A government spokesman and Meles' right-hand-man Bereket ,said Meles had been ill for a year and was recuperating before being suddenly rushed to intensive care.

The country has declared a period of national mourning until Meles' body returns and details of a state funeral will be announced in due course. The ruling party, Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, will meet to select a permanent successor, although a date has not yet been set.

Written and presented by Ann Salter