Ethiopia A European tour group that disappeared last week near the disputed border of Ethiopia and Eritrea appeared to be "safe and secure" but was in the hands of unknown kidnappers, Ethiopia's foreign minister said Friday.
The group - five employees of the British Embassy in Addis Ababa or their relatives - was abducted along with 13 Ethiopian drivers or translators March 1 in Afar, a remote border area with ancient salt mines and a spectacular volcanic landscape.
Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin said tribal elders had reported the group was in Afar.
The area is rife with bandits and draws few tourists - and those who go must have armed guides.
Four of the Europeans are believed to be British citizens, including one of Italian origin; the other is French. Five of the Ethiopians are believed to have escaped or been released.
Police in Afar say their investigations show the group was kidnapped by dozens of armed men and taken into Eritrea.