Five European tourists kidnapped in the North of Ethiopia have been released in neighbouring Eritrea, according to the British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett. The three British men, a French woman and a woman with dual British-Italian nationality were snatched in the remote Afar region nearly two weeks ago.
Beckett said they are being cared for at the British embassy in the Eritrean capital Asmara. She said: “The five are being fed and given fresh clean clothes, seen a doctor, and medical checks are continuing, but I understand that broadly they are all in good health. We continue, I’m afraid, to be concerned for the welfare of the Ethiopians, who were taken at the same time as the British embassy group, about who we don’t yet such clear news”. The five had ignored embassy warnings about the remote northern region, where the two neighbours had fought a border war at the turn of the millennium.
Early reports said the hostages were witnessed being marched over the border into Eritrea, something the government there had denied throughout. But the Foreign Secretary said that the five were undoubtedly freed with the help of the Eritrean government.