UPDATE 2-Ethiopia says Eritrea-trained gunmen killed tourists

* Addis Ababa says gunmen trained, armed by foe Eritrea * German nationals among those killed - diplomat says * Afar known as a haunt for rebels, bandits (Adds Ethiopian government spokesman, details, background) By Aaron Maasho ADDIS ABABA,

* Addis Ababa says gunmen trained, armed by foe Eritrea

* German nationals among those killed – diplomat says

* Afar known as a haunt for rebels, bandits (Adds Ethiopian government spokesman, details, background)

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Gunmen have killed five foreign tourists in Ethiopia’s remote northern Afar region, after crossing into the Horn of Africa country from neighbouring Eritrea which trained and armed the attackers, an Ethiopian official said on Tuesday.

A Western diplomat told Reuters German nationals were among those killed in the shooting which happened late on Monday. He did not confirm the total number of dead.

Afar is known to be a haunt of Ethiopian rebels who regularly cross over the border with Eritrea, Ethiopia’s bitter foe, Addis Ababa says. Eritrean rebels and bandits are also in the area at times.

“The group of foreign tourists was attacked by gunmen late on Monday, by members of a group that was trained and armed by the Eritrean government. It’s the usual terrorist activity by the regime,” Bereket Simon, Ethiopia’s government spokesman, told Reuters.

There was no immediate comment from the Eritrean authorities. The Red Sea state often says Ethiopia “fabricates” lies to tarnish its image.

Ethiopian state television said two other tourists had been seriously wounded in the attack, while another tourist had escaped unharmed.

An Ethiopian Foreign Ministry official, who declined to be named, said the government believed there were nationals from “a number of countries, mostly from Europe”.

Addis Ababa routinely accuses Asmara of supporting a number of Ethiopian separatist groups, and blamed an Afar rebel movement for the kidnapping of five Europeans in the region in 2007.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesman said Berlin was working with the German embassy in Addis Ababa to clarify exactly what had happened.

The only foreigners who normally brave the inhospitable Afar are researchers, a few aid workers and adventure tourists visiting geographical wonders such as the Danakil Depression, one of the hottest places on earth with its ancient salt mines and volcanoes.

A German media report said the group of tourists had been close to the Erta Ale volcano, one of Ethiopia’s most active.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry carries a travel warning on its website alerting German nationals to banditry and other dangers in the area around the volcano.

The Europeans abducted in 2007 in the barren, searingly hot corner of Ethiopia where rock-strewn hills rise above vast deserts below sea-level were later released.

Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a 1998-2000 border war that killed some 70,000 people, and the dispute still festers. (Additional reporting by Gareth Jones in Berlin; Writing by Richard Lough)

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13 COMMENTS
  • tekber10@yahoo.com January 17, 2012

    Qentebteb by Isayas. He just cross that RED LINE!!!!!!!
    Hope this will be his last !!!

  • SINGAPO-ERITREAN January 18, 2012

    SINGAPO-ERITREAN says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:16 am

    Quoting Reuters ,

    LONDON Jan 16 (Reuters) – “The International Coffee Organization on Monday raised its estimate of the global coffee crop in 2011/12 to 132.4 million 60 kg bags as Ethiopia overtook Colombia as the world’s number three producer. “…..
    BIG DEAL ! ,ERITREA HAS BEEN RANKED NUMBER ONE ,in having ..THE BADDEST DICTATORSHIP….cool …uh,REFUGEEs FLEEING ERITREA , MILITARY POPULATION per RATIO , & DETAINNING IRRESPONSIBLE TRUTH TELLER JOURNALIST . I THINK REUTERS IS A WOYANE AGENT …and Woyane, super advancing Ethiopia without using our ports is provocative !!!!!!!!!

  • Cambo January 18, 2012

    why are the tourists visiting this volitile region of the Horn of Africa? There have been several warnings posted by many governments not to visit this border region. Ethiopian trained rebels are attacking the Eritrean side, as the Eritrean trained rebels attack the Ethiopian side.
    This is what may start a deadly war between these two cursed poor beggar nations. They are just waiting for a spark like this and a major Middle East war diverting the international community.
    “Germany’s Foreign Ministry carries a travel warning on its website alerting German nationals to banditry and other dangers in the area around the volcano.”

  • Cambo January 18, 2012

    VOA reports “The president of a volatile Ethiopian regional state has been fired from his
    party leadership position after reportedly admitting involvement in a 2003
    ethnic massacre. The leadership of the southern Gambella region is coming
    under increasing scrutiny for corruption and abusing the rule of law.” …
    ” Omod Obang reportedly can be heard on the recording admitting a role in the mass killings, and arguing that if he is to be held accountable, so should Ethiopian Prime Minister
    Meles Zenawi.”
    Meles is in big trouble, I am afraid for the life of the Gambella leader or they may move him to a different “planet” soon. Life in African politics is short.

  • sol January 18, 2012

    The killing of these tourists is a bad experience but it should kept in mind that the region is very volatile. I do not like Ethiopian government blaming Eritrea before figuring out who killed the tourist. It should be known that the Afar are dissatisfied on both sides of border.The Afar usually welcoming peiple but they are hostile if they feel the government is exploiting their region be in Eritrea or Eritrea side.
    It is my opinion that the tourists might have traveled out side of the tourist attraction and the Afara weather rebels or citizens usually do not like intrusion into their territory by any one except their clan.But I strongly believe the government of Eritrea do not involve in killing of these tourists.

    • ahmed saleh January 18, 2012

      Sol
      The geo-politics create vaccum in the area to be exploited by some elements
      either for good or bad purposes. Blaming Eritrean government is part of dirty
      political game. We, Eritreans also had been victims on our land on border area by some criminals .For me it looks like no man land and that is why the region become
      unsecured.

  • Popular Front for Dictatorship & Jailing(HGDF) January 18, 2012

    Mister Isayas doing again a big fault, as this is happening for the Ethiopian today.
    this doesnot make them to sleep. rather this makes them to take a revenge for this on the Eritrean soil. check the online news papers from Addis Ababa.

    Let’s pray for peace! and lets pray Isayas front for dictatorship and Jailing to go to hell….

  • Shishay January 18, 2012

    This is not new event, it is happening frequently to our people bordering with Eritrea (killing, abduction and torturing), the difference is our media has airing it because it is difficult to hide it like other events.

  • Abdi January 18, 2012

    A professor from Adis described the attack as zenawi’s planned attack, read more, ,,,,
    http://www.durame.com/2012/01/meles-zenawi-planned-attacks-of.html

  • SINGAPO-ERITREAN January 18, 2012

    Quoting Reuters ,

    LONDON Jan 16 (Reuters) – “The International Coffee Organization on Monday raised its estimate of the global coffee crop in 2011/12 to 132.4 million 60 kg bags as Ethiopia overtook Colombia as the world’s number three producer. “…..
    BIG DEAL ! ,ERITREA HAS BEEN RANKED NUMBER ONE ,in having ..THE BADDEST DICTATORSHIP….cool …uh,REFUGEEs FLEEING ERITREA , MILITARY POPULATION per RATIO , & DETAINNING IRRESPONSIBLE TRUTH TELLER JOURNALIST . I THINK REUTERS IS A WOYANE AGENT …and Woyane, super advancing Ethiopia without using our ports is provocative !!!!!!!!!

    • Abdi January 18, 2012

      This doesn’t change nothing towards our view to PIA,we are not against Ethiopia be advanced in exports.its your country’s issue and i suggest if you discuss it on trgayonline.com.

  • alexdublin@live.com January 19, 2012

    Meles is won three elecation and PIE he has been in Power over 40years. I think time is runing for him to GO as soon as possible, Befor Meles is BACK FOR PART 2!!!
    And that will be ones for ALL. And the Eritrean people will FREE!!!!

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