10 January 2013

Ethiopia: Austrian Killed in Ethiopia Attack, Suspects Arrested

Addis Ababa — Ethiopia has arrested two suspects in connection with last week's killing of an Austrian tourist in northern Ethiopia, Amhara Regional police told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

The 27-year-old Austrian tourist was killed on Sunday after a group of four Austrian tourists were attacked by unknown gunmen while they were touring the Blue Nile River in the outskirts of Bahir Dar town, some 550 kilometers northwest of the capital Addis Ababa.

"We have so far arrested two suspects" Amhara regional police commission Spokesperson, Solomon Mohamed, told Sudan Tribune.

"Suspects were in possession of a gun, belongings of the foreigners as well as 4,000 birr (220 USD)" he added.

It is not clear if the attack was political motivated or if it was just a robbery.

"Situation is yet under investigation. However we don't believe attackers had political motives" Mohamed said.

He didn't say how many the armed attackers were in number however one of the victims' companions told the Austria Press Agency (APA) that attackers were eight to 10 men.

Police said it has deployed its members at the attack area to hunt down those remaining at large.

The Austrian foreign ministry recently issued a travel advisory warning alarming his nationals about the risks of terrorist attack in Ethiopia and the danger of kidnappings along the common Ethiopia-Eritrea border areas.

In January 2012, five foreign tourists, including an Austrian, were killed after Eritrea backed Ethiopian Afar Rebels attacked a large group of European tourists who were visiting Erta Ale volcano site at a remote Afar region in northern Ethiopia bordering Eritrea.

Ethiopia and Eritrea have been bitter adversaries since their 1998-2000 border war that claimed the lives of 70,000 people.

The two rival East African neighbors often trade accusations of supporting rebels to destabilise the other.

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