Thu, Jan 19, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Foreign tourists attacked in Ethiopia

AP, ADDIS ABABA

Austrian, Belgian, German, Hungarian and Italian nationals are among the foreign tourists attacked by gunmen in the country’s north, an Ethiopian official said yesterday.

Ethiopian Communications Minister Bereket Simon said officials could not yet say with certainty which among them were killed and which were injured.

Bereket said rebels trained and armed by Eritrea shot five tourists dead and wounded two during an attack on Monday.

Bereket also said a “few” tourists are missing.

It was not immediately clear if that meant they had been kidnapped.

Ethiopian state TV reported on Tuesday that there had been eight tourists in the targeted group, but Bereket yesterday hinted that the group was larger.

Austrian foreign ministry spokesman Peter Launsky-Tiefenthal said late on Tuesday that two groups totaling as many as 22 people might have been attacked, though he said the numbers were not confirmed.

He said that unconfirmed reports said that some tourists were killed, others wounded and some taken hostage.

The tourists were visiting the volcanic region in Ethiopia’s northern Afar region when “some groups trained and armed by the Eritrean government attacked them,” Bereket said.

He said the attack occurred 20km to 25km from the Eritrean border.

Eritrean Ambassador to the African Union Girma Asmerom said Ethiopia’s allegations were “fabricated” and an “absolute lie” and that the attack was an internal Ethiopian matter.

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