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Ethiopia: Tourists killed in remote Afar region

Five tourists were killed by gunmen in the Afar region of Ethiopia.
Ethiopia tourists killed afar 2012 1 18Enlarge
Camels carry salt in Ethiopia's Afar Region where tourists were kidnapped. (Jose Cendom/AFP/Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Five foreign tourists have been killed, two wounded and another two kidnapped by gunmen in the remote Afar region of northern Ethiopia.

This is, of course, bad news for Ethiopia's fledgling tourist industry though it is not the first time that armed groups in the Afar region have targeted foreigners.

In March 2007 five employees of the British embassy were held for a fortnight after being kidnapped by a separatist group called the Afar Revolutionary Democratic Front in a similar area, close to the Erta Ale volcano.

Read more on GlobalPost: Ethiopians forced off land for foreign investors

It is also bad news for already barely-existent relations between Ethiopia and its enemy/neighbor Eritrea which officials in Addis Ababa were quick to blame for the attack.

Eritrea denied the accusation calling it "pathetic, an absolute lie."

Tens of thousands of people died when Ethiopia and Eritrea — whose respective ex-rebel leaders were once allies — fought a brutal border war in 1998-2000, a conflict that still simmers today.

Read more on GlobalPost: Tourists kidnapped after five killed in attack near Eritrea