Kidnap tourists spotted in army camp
ERITREAN forces were yesterday accused of kidnapping a group of tourists, including five Britons, in a remote part of Ethiopia, and taking them to a military camp.
The Britons went missing on Thursday.
"They were taken to Wema district of Asab Province in Eritrea. This has been confirmed by two Ethiopians of Afar origin who were left behind," said Ismael Ali Sero, head of Afar administrative region.
"We have confirmation the commandos came from Arat military training camp inside Eritrea. They torched four vehicles and two homes before they left with the group."
There was no immediate comment from the Ethiopian or Eritrean governments.
Britain yesterday sent a six-strong team of senior Foreign Office officials to Ethiopia to step up diplomatic efforts to free the foreigners. British officials said five of the missing were staff from the embassy in Addis Ababa or their relatives.
A separate group of seven French tourists also went missing on Thursday. The head of the tour company that organised their trip said they were safe but a French diplomat was unable to confirm that report.
A small delegation of British embassy staff flew to the city of Mekele in the north of the country, which has the closest airport to the area where the westerners went missing, expatriate sources said.
Tour companies said the groups disappeared while visiting northeast Afar, considered one of the world's most hostile terrains and site of a low-level rebellion against the government in the 1990s by separatists calling for a separate Afar state.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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