Woyanne blames rebels for blasts that killed 3 – By Barry Malone

April 15th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

EthiopiaWoyanne blamed rebels backed by arch-foe Eritrea on Tuesday after two bombs killed three people and wounded more than a dozen in the capital.

The attacks in Addis Ababa late on Monday came a day after the nation held the first round of local, regional and federal elections that have prompted opposition claims of harassment.

“This is the work of the enemy, trying to disrupt Ethiopia’s ongoing democratic elections,” Information Minister Berhan Hailu told Reuters. No arrests have been made yet, police said.

Ethiopian state media said the explosions tore through two petrol stations in the city at the same time, killing and wounding residents who were queuing to buy fuel. Bloodstains and charred clothing lay at the scene of one of the blasts.

Bereket Simon, special adviser to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, blamed the attacks on separatist rebels.

“The early stages of our investigation indicate that organisations like the Ogaden National Liberation Front and the Oromo Liberation Front, who are organised and financed by the Eritrean government, are responsible,” he told Reuters.

An ONLF spokesman said the allegations were baseless.

“The ONLF has got nothing to do with this at all,” spokesman Abdirahman Mahdi said by telephone from London. “These attacks happened in Addis, far from our area of operations. And besides, it is not our policy to harm civilians.”

The government has often blamed rebels backed by Asmara for attacks in the past. Eritrea routinely rejects the charges.

Tensions remain high between the two Horn of Africa rivals, who fought a 1998-2000 border war that killed 70,000 people. (Additional reporting by Tsegaye Tadesse; Writing by Lisa Ntungicimpaye; Editing by Daniel Wallis) (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://africa.reuters.com/)

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