Erta Ale (Ethiopia) volcano news:
Erta Ale Janurary 17 kidnapping - ARDUF claims responsability, hostages said to be well
Monday Feb 20, 2012 08:38 AM | BY: T
More than a month after the 17 January attack on tourists and scientists at Erta Ale volcano, in which 5 were killed, several wounded and 4 people kidnapped, there is still no reliable news about the fate of the kidnapped.
The rebel Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF) has claimed responsibility for the attack, and added that the kidnapped 2 German tourists and two Ethiopian guides are in good health and will be released if there is a "positive" diplomatic outcome with Ethiopia who blames Eritrea to support ARDUF, Reuters reported.
In the meanwhile, tour groups are returning to the area again. The Ethiopian government was said to have established a semi permanent military unit to increase safety for tourists at the volcano.
ARDUF's main political goal is to unite the Afar area. It does not accept the Ethiopia-Eritrea border, where several Afar tribes currently live divided on both sides.
The group has been accused to have been conducting or supporting violent attacks in the Danakil area, where tourists started to arrive in ever increasing numbers since the mid 1990s. Both Ethiopia and Eritrea accuse each other of being involved (supporting ARDUF) in the recent attack.
In March 1995, ARDUF was involved in the kidnapping of Italian tourists in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, which resulting in an Ethiopian military campaign against the group, coordinated with the Eritrean government. Travelers reported clashes between ARDUF and Ethiopian government forces in the Dallol district through 1995, which led an end of all traffic on caravan trade routes through the Dallol area and resulting food shortages.
Political attempts at reconciliation were made in October 1997 with the creation of an Afar conference, and again in November, though both of these failed. Mohamooda Gaas, founder of ARDUF, made a statement declaring unilateral cease-fire with government forces on 5 June 1998 after the beginning of the 1998-2000 Eritrean-Ethiopian War and an Eritrean attack on the town of Alitena, inhabited primarily by Irob people (an ethnicity closely related linguistically to Afars). As a result of the fighting's civilian casualties, ARDUF reconciled with the Ethiopian government to minimize civilian casualties in the region and condemned the Eritrean government's attacks.
In July 2003 ARDUF became a member of the newly formed UEDF coalition, in opposition to the ruling EPRDF party. Soon after, on 20 September 2003, it issued a warning against foreigners entering the northern area of Afar Region for the purpose of demarcating the eastern part of the Ethiopian-Eritrean border, as it would be against the party's policy of Afar unity, who live on both sides of the eastern border.
Erta Ale volcano (Danakil desert, Ethiopia) security update - volcano reopened for tour groups, Ethiopian government sends military to secure
Thursday Feb 02, 2012 09:14 AM | BY: T
Ert Ale volcano, the site of the deadly terrorist attack 4 weeks ago, in which 5 people were killed, several wounded and 4 abducted, is now open for tour groups again, local sources confirm us, and the first European tour operators have resumed their expeditions (or never cancelled them, despite the accidents...).
According to our correspondent in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian Government is mobilizing mechanized troops and fenced the near border with Eritrea (where the attackers presumably came from) and establish a permanent special security force in the Dallol and Ert Ale areas. This illustrates the peculiar situation in this region, but according to tour operators in Ethiopia, the area can now be considered "100% safe".
Unfortunately, there is no good news yet about the fate of the 4 abducted German tourists and Ethiopian guides, except that negotiations between the various parties involved (governments from Germany, Ethiopia, Eritrea and the local Afar chiefs) are "ongoing". We hope for their liberation soon!
Deadly attack on tourists at Erta Ale - further details: 5 dead, 4 abducted and 7 wounded
Wednesday Jan 18, 2012 09:37 AM | BY: T
We have now more precise details from what happened at Erta Ale yesterday, and can confirm that the attack was not on Dallol as we suspected, but on the crater rim of Erta Ale volcano.
For years now, this has been a popular camping spot for tourists visiting the spectacular lava lake. According to our correspondents in Addis, who are in satellite phone contact with guides on location in the area, the attack happened on Tuesday around 01:00 Am local time.
5 people at least were shot dead by a group of armed rebels from Eritrea, who suddenly opened fire on the group. The victims include tourists 2 each from Germany and Hungary and 1Austrian. Their bodies have arrived in Semera town, the capital city of the Afar Region, and are now being transported to Addis.
In addition, 2 Germans and 2 Ethiopians were captured and abducted by the Eritrean terrorist.
Other 7 tourists were wounded and also arrived in Semera for further treatment in the Hospital. Among the seven tourists there is one Ethiopian Police man and the rest are from Germany, Italy and Hungary.
A large unit of the Militry of Ethiopia has arrived near Erta Ale and bans all visits to the volcano for an indefinite time we are told.
The government has send helicopters to the area to collect the bodies and to bring the wounded people. Now the area is under control and supervision of the Ethiopian Government "guarantying peace and stability" we are told.
Friday, Oct 12, 2018
Our Ethiopian expedition organiser Enku made a reconnaissance trip to Erta Ale in September and reported the current status of this continuously changing active volcano. It appears that over summer the lava lake in the summit crater slowly rose and remains very active, but that the fissure eruption at the volcano’s south flank (which started during the dramatic change of volcanic activity mid January 2017) slowed down. ... [more]
Wednesday, Jul 25, 2018
Danakil expedition organiser Enku reports after our recent tour to this Ethiopian shield volcano that activity continues both at Erta Ale’s summit caldera and the fissure eruption site on its SE flank with sustained lava lakes. ... [more]
Danakil Depression (Ethiopia): Peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea increases safety of volcano expeditions
Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018
Although visitor numbers increased significantly over the past years, the active lava lake of Erta Ale volcano and unique colourful scenery of Dallol’s hydrothermal fields remained more risky travel destinations due to their proximity to Ethiopia’s border with Eritrea. The decades long violent conflict between the two countries included the killing of 5 and kidnapping of 2 tourists visiting Erta Ale in January 2012. Following this deadly incident new safety measures involved military presence at all times on Erta Ale’s summit as well as armed Afar escorts for anyone traveling in these parts of the Danakil depression. Increased security made adventure travellers return to this one-off destination which recently saw a large increase in visitors as well as documentary coverage. The region will undoubtedly become even more popular now that the 8 July 2018 peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea unexpectedly made an end to one of Africa’s longest running conflicts. ... [more]
Saturday, Dec 16, 2017
Wednesday, Dec 06, 2017
Very sad news arrives from the Danakil desert where last Sunday 3 December a German tourist died and his Ethiopian guide got injured while they were climbing Erta Ale. The two were part of a larger tourist group which had traveled from Mekele and was making their way up to the summit of the volcano. ... [more]