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Two killed in four blasts in Ethiopian capital

Written by: Staff
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ADDIS ABABA, May 12 (Reuters) Four explosions tore through the Ethiopian capital today, killing two people and injuring at least 21 in the latest of a series of blasts to strike Addis Ababa this year.

One explosion at a cafe in a busy market area around lunchtime killed two, following three others earlier today that struck a commercial district and a bus.

''Two who sat on the veranda were killed instantly,'' cafe manager Seifu Shume told Reuters. Two waitresses were among the injured, including one whose leg was blown off, he said.

Police cordoned off the blast sites and urged the public to come forward with any information about who was behind the bombings.

''These explosions were meant to terrorise the people,'' Addis Ababa police said in a statement read on state television.

This is the second time someone has been killed in what appears to be an orchestrated campaign targeting public buildings. One person died and 14 were injured in five blasts on March 27.

No one has yet been arrested and charged in any of the attacks, which started in January and have escalated since.

Authorities in the past have blamed various groups for such attacks, including members of the main opposition group and separatist rebels from the Oromo region in southern Ethiopia.

Authorities said plastic explosives used in the March 27 attacks pointed the finger at insurgents from neighbouring Eritrea. The two countries fought a 1998-2000 war over their border, which is still in dispute.

Today, the attacks started early as a blast ripped across De Gaulle Plaza at 5 a.m. (0730 hrs IST), knocking out windows at a bank and an office of state-owned Ethiopian Airlines.

A second hit the state electricity company headquarters 200 metres away several hours later, injuring several people. On a bus in western Addis, an explosion injured the conductor.

The unexplained blasts have increased tension in Addis Ababa, which has been shaken by two bouts of violence after disputed parliamentary elections last year.

At least 80 people were killed in clashes between police and opposition demonstrators in a protest over what they said were rigged election results.

REUTERS PR KN1745

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