January 18, 2012

Eritrea has called claims it was behind a deadly attack on foreigners in northern Ethiopia “an absolute lie.”
Eritrea's ambassador to the African Union, Girma Asmerom, made the statement Wednesday. He was replying to charges by an Ethiopian government spokesman that the attack was made by rebels armed and trained by the Eritrean government.
Ethiopia said Wednesday that four people, including two foreign tourists, were kidnapped in the attack early Tuesday that left five dead and two injured in Ethiopia's northern Afar region. The nationalities of the foreigners were not clear.
Earlier, Ethiopian officials had said the attack happened on Monday.
Ethiopia's communications minister Bereket Simon says a number of Europeans were among the foreigners attacked.
Ethiopian state television said Tuesday that at least one tourist survived the attack unharmed.
Ethiopia often accuses its neighbor of supporting militant groups inside its borders. Eritrea, once a part of Ethiopia, gained its independence in 1991 after a 30-year battle. The two Horn of Africa countries later fought a border war from 1998 to 2000, and tensions remain high.
The Afar region has ancient salt mines, hot springs and volcanoes that entice many sightseers. In 2007, a group of European tourists was kidnapped there, but they were later released

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