Ethiopia gunmen ‘kill five foreign tourists’

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (BBC) – Five foreign tourists have been killed in Ethiopia in an attack by unknown gunmen, state TV reports.

The attack was carried out late on Monday in the northern Afar region of the country by gunmen who had crossed from neighbouring Eritrea, the TV said.

Two other tourists were seriously hurt and a third is said to have escaped the attack unharmed. The nationality of the victims was not given.

Afar is regarded as a haunt of both Ethiopian and Eritrean rebels.

Ethiopia and Eritrea have been bitter adversaries since their 1998-2000 border war.

Ethiopian Television (ETV) said the two injured tourists had been taken to a clinic by defence forces.

“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,” Ethiopian government spokesman Bereket Simon told Reuters.

“It is the usual terrorist activity by the regime.”

A Western diplomat also told Reuters that German nationals were among those killed, but that has not been confirmed.

However, reports in the German media said the tourists had been near the Erta Ale volcano.

Eritrea has so far not commented on the attack.

Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 but the two countries soon became embroiled in border disputes.