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Explosion rocks Ethiopian capital, three dead -police
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Explosion rocks Ethiopian capital, three dead -police

Tue 20 May 2008, 18:22 GMT
[-] Text [+]

(Recasts with number of dead and wounded)

By Andrew Cawthorne

ADDIS ABABA, May 20 (Reuters) - An explosion on a minibus shook central Addis Ababa on Tuesday, killing three people and wounding nine, Ethiopian police said.

All the dead and wounded were on the bus, police said.

"Three people were killed and nine seriously injured by an explosion from a device planted by suspected terrorists inside a minibus taxi," said Addis Ababa police spokesman Densash Hailu.

The blast on a road between the Hilton hotel and the foreign ministry was the latest in a string of explosions in Addis Ababa that Ethiopia has blamed on extremists backed by its neighbour and rival Eritrea. Scores of policemen and soldiers rushed to the scene, cordoning off the area as fire engines arrived.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government routinely refers to the Eritrean government, with whom it fought a 1998-2000 border war, as terrorists.

Eritrea routinely denies the allegations, saying Meles faces an array of internal opponents.

A taxi driver who asked not to be named said he saw rescuers pulling out several dead people.

"I saw maybe 3 or 4 bodies taken away," the driver said.

Last month, Ethiopia blamed rebels backed by Eritrea after two bombs at petrol stations killed three people and wounded more than a dozen in the capital. (Editing by Matthew Jones)

(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://africa.reuters.com/)


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Deaths in Ethiopia explosion

Witnesses say an explosive device may have been planted on the minibus [AFP]

Three people have been killed in a explosion near Ethiopia's foreign ministry in the capital Addis Ababa, a state-run radio station has reported.

It is not immediately clear what caused the explosion at about 7:30 pm (1630 GMT) on Tuesday, but witnesses said that an explosive device may have planted on a minibus.

"I was in the area when the blast went off and this minibus was blown to pieces," one eyewitness said.

Ethiopian authorities have not provided details on casualties, but witnesses have said that police have sealed off streets leading to the foreign ministry.

The explosion comes just over a month after three people were killed and 18 wounded in bomb blasts at petrol stations in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian authorities blamed the April 14 attack on the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a separatist group.

The OLF, alongside the Ogaden National Liberation Front and Ethiopia's rival Eritrea, are routinely blamed for such attacks.
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