Fifteen foreigners said missing in north-east Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Fifteen foreigners including 10 French nationals have gone missing in a remote region of north-east Ethiopia which has seen kidnappings of tourists in the past, expatriate sources said on Friday.
"At least two groups of people have gone missing," one source familiar with the case told Reuters.
He said 10 French tourists and another mixed group had disappeared on Thursday while touring the arid Afar region.
Afar separatists started a low-level rebellion against the Addis Ababa government in the 1990s, calling for the creation of a separate Afar state on territory which straddles Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.
"Tourists have been kidnapped in the area before but the last time was before the Ethiopian-Eritrean war," the source said, referring to a 1998-2000 border conflict between the two Horn of Africa neighbors.
The latter group included one Italian but the other nationalities were not immediately known, the source added.
The Ethiopian government said it was aware of the incident, but could not confirm a media report the foreigners had been kidnapped.
"The government is monitoring the situation," an Information Ministry spokesman said, adding that a statement would be released later in the day.

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