State media: Gunmen kill 5 foreign tourists in Ethiopia

Story highlights

  • Two victims are identified as German tourists
  • The nationalities of the dead tourists are not mentioned by state media
  • State media says the attack took place near Ethiopia's border with Eritrea
Two tourists from Germany and one from Austria were among five people killed in an attack in Ethiopia, near the border with Eritrea, officials said Wednesday.
The attack took place Monday in the Afar region and was carried out by gunmen who crossed the border, the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency reported Wednesday.
Defense forces attended to the wounded tourists, taking them to a hospital, state media reported.
The report comes a day after the German Foreign Ministry said it was investigating "indications of an attack on a tour group" that included German citizens in Ethiopia.
"A tour group containing German nationals fell victim to an armed attack yesterday near the Ertale volcano in northeast Ethiopia near the border to Eritrea," a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
The German government formed a crisis team that is investigating the attack.
Two German tourists were killed in the attack, and the fate of a third German who was part of the group remains unknown, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Wednesday.
A total of 12 people were rescued from the site of the attack by helicopter, he said. A "number" of those were German, he added.
"The crisis group and the embassy in Ethiopia will continue to try and help any affected Germans with the utmost urgency," Westerwelle said.
The Austrian Foreign Ministry confirmed that one Austrian was among the victims.
"What may have been the case is there were two groups in the region, more or less at the same time having planned to climb up the volcano in this border area... and I think that's when they got surprised by the attackers," said Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, spokesman for the Austrian Foreign Ministry.
Austria has had a travel warning in place for this specific region since 2007, he added. There have been several attacks against Austrian tourists there over the past several years, he said.