Unconfirmed reports over the whereabouts of five kidnapped Britons and thirteen Ethiopian guides point to Eritrean involvement. A government official from the remote Ethiopian region where the missing were last seen claims neighbouring Eritrean forces have taken them.
Assab Province, he says, is where they are being held, but the Eritrean government has categorically denied the accusation. The UK has sent diplomatic officials to help free its citizens who are mainly embassy staff. Security expert Steve Park described the region: “The border is extremely porous and inhospitable. We know that rebel groups are travelling from Eritrea or Somalia to get into that region and that they are heavily armed. It’s an extremely dangerous area for any tourist to be travelling around there – it would be very very dangerous at this moment in time.”
The region remains an attraction for adventurous holidaymakers, with volcanoes, saltmines and some of the world’s earliest fossilised human remains. A group of French tourists, previously reported missing, has turned up safe and well.