Ethiopia: Slain tourists are Europeans, Australian

2012-01-18 09:50
Addis Ababa - Ethiopia said on Wednesday that four of the five tourists killed in the northeast of the country were Europeans and the fifth an Australian, and blamed arch-foe Eritrea for backing their attackers.

"Terrorist groups trained and armed by the Eritrean government crossed the border and attacked them and the assailants have gone back," government spokesperson Bereket Simon told AFP.

"So far we have confirmed that five tourists have been killed by the terrorists and one of them is German, the other Belgian, Hungarian, an Italian and an Australian," he said.

The tourists were killed on Monday in the remote Afar region whilst visiting the Erta Ale volcanic site.

The Afar region, an inhospitable scrubland and desert with shallow salty lakes and chains of volcanoes, is reputed to be one of the hottest places on Earth. It also known for hominid fossil finds.

"Ethiopia requests that the UN and other international bodies take appropriate measures to ensure peace and security in the Horn of Africa," Bereket said.

Addis Ababa routinely accuses Eritrea of supporting rebels fighting the Ethiopian regime, charges that Eritrea denies.

The rival Horn of African countries fought a bitter territorial war between 1998 and 2000 and are still deeply at odds over their border.

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