ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — A high-ranking Ethiopian government official says a rebel group's claim that Ethiopian troops killed five European tourists during a gun battle is "pure fiction".
Ethiopia's foreign affairs spokesman Dina Mufti said Monday that the statement was completely untrue. Ethiopia has blamed its archenemy Eritrea for the incident.
An unverified Jan. 21 statement claiming to be from an obscure rebel group in Ethiopia's arid northern Afar region claimed gunmen clashed with Ethiopian soldiers. The Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front says the five foreigners were killed in the battle.
The claim comes after gunmen last week attacked a group of European tourists in the country's Afar region, bordering the tiny nation of Eritrea. Five were killed, two wounded and two kidnapped.