New mystery blasts rock Ethiopia, at least one injured

AFP May 12, 2006ADDIS ABABA -- At least one person was injured as two blasts rocked a pair of office buildings in downtown Addis Ababa on Friday in the latest in a string of mystery explosions in Ethiopia, police said. Diplomatic sources reported two other blasts in and around the capital, including one on a bus that seriously wounded at least two people, but police were unable to confirm those injuries. Police said that the two blasts caused minor damage at two adjacent buildings housing offices of the national flag-carrier Ethiopian Airlines and the Ethiopian Electric Power Cooperation in Addis Ababa's northern Piazza area. The first, around 4:00 am (0100 GMT), at the airline office shattered windows, and glass littered the area around the building. "No one was around, so there were no injuries," said a police official at the site. The second explosion occurred around 9:30 am (0630 GMT) inside a nearby building housing the power company, where police said that one person was slightly injured. Police said that a third blast occurred on the road to Jima west of Addis Ababa but had no details. Diplomats said that a bus had been targeted in the explosion that seriously wounded two passengers. Diplomats also reported a fourth blast around Addis Ababa's main market in the Mercato area of the city, but it was not clear if there had been any injuries and police were unable to immediately confirm the explosion. The blasts were the latest in more than a dozen to have hit Addis Ababa and provincial towns since January, killing at least seven people. In early April at least six people were killed and dozens wounded when grenades exploded in bars and a market in towns in eastern and western Ethiopia. Addis Ababa has been hit by at least 11 explosions, some attributed to grenades and others to landmines, since January, including a series of five on one day in March that killed one person on a bus and wounded 15. No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts but Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has said that the material for the explosives has come from archrival neighbor Eritrea, a charge denied by Eritrean authorities. Other officials have blamed separatist rebels, Somali Muslim extremists and opposition groups, which the government has accused of trying to foment a coup after disputed elections last year. Tension has been high in Addis Ababa for months since at least 84 people died - many at the hands of police - during opposition-led protests against alleged fraud in the May 2005 election.

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at2:36 AM


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2:23 PM  

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