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34 Die as Bus Hits Land Mine in Ethiopia Rebel Area

July 16, 1988|Associated Press

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — A passenger bus traveling through the war-torn northern province of Eritrea ran over a land mine and triggered an explosion that killed 34 people and injured 39, the state-run news agency said Friday.

The Ethiopian News Agency said the blast occurred Thursday 55 miles south of the Eritrean capital Asmara, along the Asmara-Makale highway, one of Ethiopia's main northern arteries for trade and relief aid. Government soldiers have been fighting two separate rebellions in the northern provinces.

The bus was carrying people back to their homes in Eritrea's southern neighbor, Tigre, which the government says it has recaptured from Tigre People's Liberation Front rebels who overran the province earlier this year.

In Eritrea, the government has not reported any engagements with the secessionist Eritrean People's Liberation Front since May and June when the rebels tried to capture Keren, the province's second largest city.

The Eritrean front has been fighting the Addis Ababa government for 27 years, while the Tigrean rebels took up arms in 1974.

Ethiopia has restricted movement in and out of the north since March. The government also ordered back to the capital about 60 foreign aid workers who were helping feed drought victims in the north, where Western relief officials estimated that 3.2 million people were threatened with famine.

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