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Ethiopia: Govt Threatens Eritrea Over Tourist Killings

The Nation (Nairobi)

Argaw Ashine

20 January 2012

Addis Ababa — The Ethiopian Government has threatened revenge against Eritrea after Tuesday’s killing of five tourists in North eastern region of Afar.

Two Germans, two Hungarians and one Austrian were killed by gunmen, while four other foreigners were kidnapped and injured.

Ethiopian authorities emphasised their right to self defence as Eritrea strongly denied the accusations.

Following Ethiopia’s accusation, Asmara allegedly alerted its army at the border area.

Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Thursday and said Ethiopia would respond to Eritrean ‘terrorist’ activity unless the international community does so.

Terrorist activities

“The Ethiopian Government’s tolerance towards a regime (Eritrea) that openly supports terrorist activities is inevitably wearing thinner by the day.

“Ethiopia cannot and should not sit idly by while the regime in Asmara continues to sponsor acts of terror within Ethiopia’s territory with impunity,” part of the statement reads.

The statement also claimed the tourist attack was meant to coincide with the African Union summit next week in Addis Ababa.

The statement appealed to the international community to caution the Eritrean regime against ‘destabilising’ the region.

“It should be made clear that Ethiopia has the right to defend itself and it will do so if necessary.”

Ethiopia didn’t present clear evidence towards the claim but cited a 2008 tourists’ kidnapping by an Eritrean-based armed group.

“When tourists were kidnapped, the Eritrean Governmenttried to use the prisoners as a bargaining chip in its diplomatic activities”, Ethiopian Government statement claimed.

Government Spokesman Bereket Simon claimed that gunmen who carried out Tuesday’s attack, were members of subversive groups trained and armed by the Eritrean Government.

On Thursday, Ethiopia and western diplomats sent emissaries to secure the release of the abducted tourists.

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