Hunt for missing Ethiopia tourists

British embassy staff reportedly among Europeans seized in remote northern region.

     Separatists in the Afar region began a rebellion against Ethiopian government in the 1990s [AFP]

    An Ethiopian government source told the AFP news agency; "The army is dealing with the search. Troops have been deployed in the region."

    Ethiopia's state news agency reported police as saying the Britons were taken from from a camp on Thursday night.

    Britain has sent a team of officials to Ethiopia to help the search.
      

    "We're sending out staff to supplement the embassy staff there," a foreign office spokeswoman in London told AFP.


    French tourists

    French embassy officials have also travelled to the region in an attempt to help trace at least seven French nationals who were reportedly part of a trekking group.

    The missing Ethiopians were working as drivers and interpreters for the tour groups.

    The government requires all convoys visiting the area to have a minimum of two cars and travel with armed guards because of the threat of bandits.

    "We heard about an abduction and we are trying to confirm their whereabouts," Berekhat Simon, an adviser to Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian prime minister, told AFP.

    "We'll try our best to ensure their safety."

    In 1995, nine Italian tourists were captured by Afar tribesmen, then released two weeks later.

    Afar separatists began a low-level rebellion against the Addis Ababa government in the 1990s, calling for the creation of a separate Afar state on territory which straddles Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.