Five Foreign Tourists Killed in Ethiopia

Posted January 17th, 2012 at 9:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Gunmen have attacked a group of foreign tourists in Ethiopia, killing at least five people and wounding two more.

Ethiopian state television says at least one tourist survived the attack unharmed. It took place Monday in the northeastern Afar region, near the border with Eritrea. The broadcast cited the defense ministry as the source of the report and suggested the attackers were rebels with ties to Eritrea.

Although the nationalities of the tourists were not confirmed, there are reports they were European, and that some of those killed were German. The German foreign ministry says it is working with its embassy in Ethiopia to investigate the report.

Ethiopia often accuses its neighbor of supporting militant groups inside its borders. Eritrea, once a part of Ethiopia, gained its independence in 1991 after a 30-year battle. The two Horn of Africa countries later fought a border war from 1998 to 2000, and tensions remain high.

The Afar region has ancient salt mines, hot springs and volcanoes that entice many sightseers. In 2007, a group of European tourists was kidnapped there, but they were later released.