March 7, 2006

Three explosions hit Ethiopian capital: police

By Tsegaye Tadesse

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Three explosions rocked the
Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa at midday on Tuesday, injuring
four people, police said.

One blast hit the Lalibela restaurant in the southern part
of the city, extensively damaging the structure. Restaurant
manager Asnketch Makaonnen said the explosion was caused by a
bomb planted in a flower pot outside.

"I was in my office, when I heard the explosion. I came to
the restaurant and I found it filled with smoke. We tried to
lead the clients through the back door," Makaonnen said.

"Luckily none of the restaurant staff were injured except
four pedestrians," she added.

The other explosion struck a market, also in the south of
the city. Police said the device was hidden in a rubbish bin.
There were no injuries.

A third blast later occurred outside the gate of a hotel
and tourism training center in the center of the city. No one
was injured in the blast, which damaged a small guard shack at
the gate.

Police surrounded all three sites and investigators sifted
through the debris.

One of the four people injured in the restaurant blast was
released from hospital. Two others were admitted with shrapnel
wounds to their legs and faces. The fourth was being treated
for head injuries.

Ethiopia has been hit by a series of violent protests in
which more than 80 people have died since elections in May,
which the opposition says were rigged.

Top opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD)
leaders were among 131 people charged with treason and planning
to commit genocide stemming from those protests.

In January, several public buildings and hotels in Addis
Ababa were damaged by explosive devices planted by unknown

Last month the Federal Police Anti-Terrorism Taskforce
issued a statement saying it had foiled a plot to "unleash
armed urban terrorism" in the capital by a group linked to the

The statement said authorities seized a cache of dynamite,
bombs and small arms.