Ethiopia searches for tourist killers

2012-01-19 11:22
Addis Ababa - Ethiopian security forces on Thursday were searching for gunmen who killed five European tourists and kidnapped at least two others and two guides in an attack it blamed on arch-rival Eritrea.

"We are working on how to respond to the attack... there are security operators there," said foreign ministry spokesperson Dina Mufti.

Two Germans, two Hungarians and an Austrian were killed in the attack, with others wounded, officials said.

German newspaper Bild cited security sources as saying three of its nationals were missing.

The 22 tourists were trekking near Ethiopia's famed Erta Ale volcano, one of Africa's most spectacular which lies in the remote and arid Afar depression - reputedly one of the least hospitable places on the planet.

Local rebels have claimed kidnappings in the past, but the attack before dawn Tuesday near the tense border with Eritrea was the region's worst incident involving tourists in years.

"Eritrea has been doing this repeatedly and we are still appealing to the international community to act," Dina said.

"We are inquiring as to the details [of the killings] but definitely they [Eritrea] are the ones who have carried out the attack," he said.

Illegal acts of occupation

Eritrea, however, has vehemently denied any involvement in the attack. A statement released late on Wednesday from Eritrea's foreign ministry said the allegations were "ludicrous" and a "smear campaign."

Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia and won independence in 1993 after a 30-year struggle.

The two Horn of Africa neighbours fought a devastating 1998-2000 border war which claimed at least 70 000 lives and their dispute remains unresolved, with Ethiopian soldiers on land ruled by international courts to belong to Eritrea.

Ethiopia "routinely seeks to blame Eritrea for military acts of home-grown internal opposition movements" the Eritrean ministry statement read.

The ministry in accused Ethiopia of trying to deflect attention from "illegal acts of occupation" of Eritrean land.

The killings and kidnappings have dealt another blow to regional tourism after kidnappings in Kenyan resorts and attacks on yachts by Somali pirates.

Read more on:    kenya  |  ethiopia  |  eritrea  |  east africa  |  abductions

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Trying to keep time for your social commitments and friendships as well as taking care of work and health obligations can be more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.