- Ethiopian authorities have arrested several people for allegedly plotting to carry out bombing attacks in the countries capital Addis Ababa, state media said Thursday.
Ethiopia yesterday warned its people to guard against imminent terrorist attack, urging citizens to collaborate with security forces.
State ENA news agency quoted Ethiopian intelligence as saying suspects were leaders of rebel Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and of Kawerj, a previously unknown group.
"The Kawerj are an extremist group operating in Ethiopia," police spokesman Demsash Hailu said.
Police said men arrested were also members of legal opposition parties, Oromo National Congress and Oromo Federal Democratic Movement.
However, opposition party leaders have argued that there was no plot, but some of government stunts to pin down and implicate legitimate opposition parties.
The OLF has been fighting for independence for southern region of Oromia for more than three decades.
"The government continued massive arrest of prominent Oromos in an attempt to kill the Oromo nationalist spirit," a statement posted on OLF website said. It listed 12 individuals as having been "sent to detention centres" in the past few days.
A series of blasts have rocked Ethiopian capital this year with authorities blaming neighbouring Eritrea, along with OLF and Ogaden National Liberation Front.
Relations between Asmara and Addis Ababa have been frosty since they fought a devastating 1998-2000 border war that claimed tens of thousands of lives on both sides.
Ethiopia and Eritrea have been deadlocked over their 1,000 kms (620-mile) frontier since a 2000 border ruling and analysts fear even a small incident could trigger renewed hostilities.
The purported terrorist threat came as Ethiopia's main opposition party expressed concern over shrinking political freedom following arrest of another opposition party leader.
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