Mystery blasts rock Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA - At least one person has been killed and seven wounded in a weekend grenade attack in southeast Ethiopia in the latest in a string of deadly mystery blasts across the nation, police said.
Another grenade, apparently intended to target regional officials, was thrown shortly after the first hit a bar late Sunday in the town of Jijiga, about 720 kilometres from the capital, but failed to detonate, they said.
Jijiga police commander Mohammed Hussein told the state-run Ethiopian News Agency that the bar blast killed the pub owner, who died en route to a local hospital where the seven injured customers were being treated.
"A hand grenade thrown into a public pub-recreational quarter by unidentified people exploded," ENA quoted Mohammed as saying.
"We have arrested some people who tried to run away after the incident and an investigation is under way to establish the identity of the people and their motives," he said, according to the agency.
The death brings to at least 12 the number of people killed in a series of explosions that have rocked Addis Ababa and provincial towns, including Jijiga, where three blasts in late May wounded 42 people, since the start of the year.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, although government officials have variously blamed Ethiopia's arch-foe Eritrea, separatist rebels, Somali Muslim extremists and opposition groups.
On May 12, nine blasts at apparently random targets, including a crowded cafe, a bus station and buses, killed at least four people and wounded more than 40 in Addis Ababa. Political tension has been high in Ethiopia since disputed elections last year led to opposition protests that twice turned violent.
At least 84 people were killed - many shot dead by police - during demonstrations against alleged fraud in the May 2005 polls.
The protests resulted in the imprisonment of the entire leadership of the main opposition party and more than a dozen journalists on a wide range of charges including genocide, treason and conspiracy to overthrow the government. Sapa-AFP

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