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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

ETHIOPIA: Rebel group denies planting bomb

NAIROBI, 29 September 2003 (IRIN) - The rebel Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) has denied any involvement in a bomb blast in Ethiopia which killed two people and injured nine last week.

The bomb exploded on Friday as the train was nearing the town of Adiquala, about 190 km from the Djibouti border.

The device had been planted under the seat in a second-class carriage of the passenger train which was travelling from Djibouti.

A government spokesman on Monday blamed the rebel group for the incident, but OLF spokesman Lencho Bati told IRIN his group never targeted civilians.

"The Ethiopian government has been very clever in cashing in on the war against terrorism," he said. "But this incident has nothing to do with us and we never target civilians."

He noted that a bomb blast on the same line last year, for which the OLF claimed responsibility, was aimed at a military target.

"That was a warehouse and was a legitimate military target," he said.

The OLF has been fighting for greater autonomy ever since it broke away from the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and took up arms in 1992. It says the Oromo people - Ethiopia's largest ethnic group - have been treated as second class citizens for years.


Theme(s): (IRIN) Conflict




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