Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tensions rise between Ethiopia, Eritrea after tourists’ killings | News


Animosity and malice rose between Ethiopia and Eritrea after officials from the two the countries blamed each other for the killing of five European tourists along their north-eastern border. The Ethiopian government said that the gunmen, who carried out Monday's attack in the Afar region of north-eastern Ethiopia, about 25 km from the Eritrean border, near the active Erta Ale volcano, were members of "subversive groups trained and armed by the Eritrean government." On their part, the Eritrea's foreign ministry called the accusation a "ludicrous" smear campaign, saying in a statement that Ethiopia has long been host to home-grown, armed opposition groups.

Eritrean officials said the attack took place in Ethiopian territory, and is an Ethiopian matter.

The row between the two countries started after the gunmen attacked a group of European tourists traveling in one of the world's lowest and hottest regions, killing five, wounding two and kidnapping two, according to reports.

The tourists were visiting a volcanic region in Ethiopia's northern Afar region, which lies below sea level and is known for its intense heat and picturesque salt flats.

Those wounded in the attack arrived at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa on Wednesday evening, where they were met by embassy personnel.

One victim had to be moved in a wheelchair while others covered their faces to avoid being photographed by journalists.

The Ethiopian government offered its condolences to the families of victims and said it would “do everything possible to try and get those taken prisoner released as soon as possible.”

Moreover, the Ethiopian government called the attack "an act of open terrorism" and said the gunmen came from neighboring Eritrea and attacked the tourist group before dawn on Tuesday.

Austrian, Belgian, German, Hungarian and Italian nationals were among those in the tourist group and two Germans, two Hungarians and an Austrian were among the five killed, according to an Interpol report.

Two Belgians were seriously injured and two Italians escaped unharmed, the report said. Foreigners and Ethiopians were also taken hostage.

In 2007, five Europeans and 13 Ethiopians were kidnapped in Afar. Ethiopia accused Eritrea of masterminding that kidnapping, but Eritrea denied the claims, blaming an Ethiopian rebel group. Later on, all of those hostages were released, though some of the Ethiopians were held for more than a month.

In addition, in 2008, Ethiopia foiled a kidnapping attempt on a group of 28 French tourists in the area.

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Animosity and malice rose between Ethiopia and Eritrea after officials from the two the countries blamed each other for the killing of five European tourists along their north-eastern border. The Ethiopian government said that the gunmen, who carried out Monday's attack in the Afar region of north-eastern Ethiopia, about 25 km from the Eritrean border, near the active Erta Ale volcano, were members of "subversive groups trained and armed by the Eritrean government." On their part, the Eritrea's foreign ministry called the accusation a "ludicrous" smear campaign, saying in a statement that Ethiopia has long been host to home-grown, armed opposition groups.

Eritrean officials said the attack took place in Ethiopian territory, and is an Ethiopian matter.

The row between the two countries started after the gunmen attacked a group of European tourists traveling in one of the world's lowest and hottest regions, killing five, wounding two and kidnapping two, according to reports.

The tourists were visiting a volcanic region in Ethiopia's northern Afar region, which lies below sea level and is known for its intense heat and picturesque salt flats.

Those wounded in the attack arrived at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa on Wednesday evening, where they were met by embassy personnel.

One victim had to be moved in a wheelchair while others covered their faces to avoid being photographed by journalists.

The Ethiopian government offered its condolences to the families of victims and said it would “do everything possible to try and get those taken prisoner released as soon as possible.”

Moreover, the Ethiopian government called the attack "an act of open terrorism" and said the gunmen came from neighboring Eritrea and attacked the tourist group before dawn on Tuesday.

Austrian, Belgian, German, Hungarian and Italian nationals were among those in the tourist group and two Germans, two Hungarians and an Austrian were among the five killed, according to an Interpol report.

Two Belgians were seriously injured and two Italians escaped unharmed, the report said. Foreigners and Ethiopians were also taken hostage.

In 2007, five Europeans and 13 Ethiopians were kidnapped in Afar. Ethiopia accused Eritrea of masterminding that kidnapping, but Eritrea denied the claims, blaming an Ethiopian rebel group. Later on, all of those hostages were released, though some of the Ethiopians were held for more than a month.

In addition, in 2008, Ethiopia foiled a kidnapping attempt on a group of 28 French tourists in the area.

1 comment:

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