January 23, 2012

Ethiopian rebels to release Kidnapped Germans, deny Eritrean role

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 8:55 pm
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A rebel group has promised the release of two German nationals who were kidnapped in the Afar region of Ethiopia last week when a group of European tourists were attacked, killing five of them.


Map of EthiopiaMap of Ethiopia

The rebel group, Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF), in its first ever statement, at the weekend confirmed that they were holding the two Germans adding that the abducted Europeans were being treated well.

The group said it will release the Germans after negotiations with Afar ethnic elders, but stopped short of giving details on the exact date of release.

Two Germans, two Hungarians and an Austrian were killed in an attack on tourists last week in the Afar region of Ethiopia, close to Eritrea.

Tensions rose when Ethiopia suggested that the insurgents had been trained and armed by Eritrea and warned that “Ethiopia has the right to defend itself and will do so if necessary”.

The Horn of Africa country also called on the international community to “assume its responsibilities and take the necessary steps to bring this abominable behaviour to an end”. It also said that it was “not too late for international action”.

But the front has denied any involvement of the Eritrean government, saying that the tourists were killed after Ethiopian troops started attacking ARDUF’s patrols. Eritrea is under United Nations sanctions for supporting Somali rebel group, al-Shabaab.

A total of 27 international tourists were attacked as they toured the famous lava lakes of the volcanic Afar region.

ARDUF says it is fighting for the rights of the Afar ethnic group, which it says is marginalised by the Ethiopian government.

A few years ago, the front kidnapped European tourists who were later released in Asmara, Eritrea.

Ethiopia said after last week’s attacks that insurgents had taken the two Germans and their two Ethiopian assistants to Eritrea.

The German embassy in Addis Ababa is working with the concerned officials for the release of the kidnapped Germans. Ethiopian officials have refused to give any details pertaining to the hostage situation to the media.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated after a border dispute, about a decade ago leading to a “No peace, No war” situation.


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