10 French tourists kidnapped in northern Ethiopia

Ten French tourists have been kidnapped in northern Ethiopia by unknown people, a businessman and a tour operator who work in the region said. The tourists were in a convoy of four vehicles in Dalol, 800 kilometers (500 miles) northeast of Addis Ababa, traveling to salt mines in the Afar region when they were kidnapped on Thursday, said the businessman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. One of them escaped, got to another group of tourists and made a satellite phone call to authorities in the area to report the kidnapping, which took place around 4 p.m. (1300GMT), the businessman said. Bereket Simon, special adviser to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, said that he was checking into the situation, but could not confirm anything as yet.