Ethiopia Attack: British National Among Europeans Targeted By Gunmen
A British national was among a group of Europeans caught up in a deadly attack by gunmen in Ethiopia, it emerged today.
Five foreign tourists were killed, five people kidnapped and two wounded in the incident in the country's arid north before dawn on Tuesday, reports said.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that a British national was involved in an incident on January 17 in Danakil.
"We are providing consular assistance."
It is understood that the Briton was not among those killed or kidnapped.
Earlier, a British diplomat at the airport in Addis Ababa, where embassy staff met wounded victims last night, had said a UK tourist may have been among the group which was attacked.
The Ethiopian government has branded the attack "an act of open terrorism".
It said the gunmen came from Eritrea, although the neighbouring country has denied involvement.
The tourists were visiting a volcanic region in Ethiopia's northern Afar region, which lies below sea level and is known for its extreme heat and salt flats.
The group included Austrian, Belgian, German, Hungarian and Italian nationals, Ethiopian communications minister Bereket Simon said.
According to an Interpol report, two Germans, two Hungarians and an Austrian were killed.
Two Belgians were seriously hurt and two Italians escaped unharmed, the report said.
Two Germans were kidnapped and three Ethiopians were also reportedly taken hostage.
In a statement, the Ethiopian government offered condolences to the victims' families and said it would "do everything possible to try and get those taken prisoner released as soon as possible".
It said those kidnapped may have been taken across the border into Eritrea.
Some of the tourists were said to be travelling with Addis Ababa-based Green Land Tours and Travel.
Other members of the group were apparently booked by a company in Germany called Diamir.
In a statement on its website, the company said it deeply regretted what happened and that it had no previous indication of risk to guests' security in the region.
Mr Simon said that "some groups trained and armed by the Eritrean government" attacked the tourists about 12 to 15 miles from the Eritrean border.
Eritrea's ambassador to the African Union, Girma Asmerom, said the allegations were an "absolute lie" and that the attack was an internal Ethiopian matter.
The two countries fought a border war from 1998 to 2000, claiming the lives of about 80,000 people.