Ethiopia Arrests Four Suspects Over Hotel Bomb Attack 

Ethiopia Arrests Four Suspects Over Hotel Bomb Attack (News Central TV)
Sahle-Work Zewde leaves the Parliament after being elected as Ethiopia’s first female President in Addis Ababa on October 25, 2018. (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP)EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP/Getty Images

Ethiopian officials have detained four people in connection with a bombing at a hotel in Harar’s old city on Sunday.

Harari Regional State Police Commissioner Nesri Zekerya said in a statement on Tuesday that the four suspects are being investigated.

“Police are monitoring the situation closely,” the statement reads. Eight people were injured after a bomb exploded inside the hotel in the capital of Harari Regional State, regional Police Commissioner said.

The explosion occurred on Sunday night, as Ethiopians celebrated the Easter holiday across the country.

Four of the eight victims received minor injuries and were able to return home right away, while the others are still in serious condition and are being treated at local hospitals.

The attack, which is the second in the region in less than two weeks, has yet to be claimed by any group.

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The attack on Sunday night comes just one day after Ethiopian officials announced the capture of 34 suspected Al-Shabaab terrorists.

The Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) warned in a statement on Saturday that Shabaab suspects were plotting terror acts across the country during the Easter weekend.

“The suspects were secretly conspiring and preparing to conduct terror attacks in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, Oromia and Somali regional states at the time of their arrest.

“Al-Shabaab had chosen the ongoing Islamic Ramadhan and Orthodox Christian Easter fasting seasons to destabilise Ethiopia through terror attacks, but the plot has been foiled by the careful monitoring and operations of the security and intelligence bodies,” the NISS said in a statement.

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Ten of the 34 alleged Shabaab members were apprehended in Ethiopia’s Oromia regional state, while 24 were apprehended in Somalia.

Assault rifles, machine guns, mortars, ammo, and other weaponry, as well as bank account statements and other documentation, were discovered in the custody of the suspects.

Mohammed Guhad Mursal and Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Osman were also suspected of organizing Al-Shabaab cell recruitment and logistics in Ethiopia, as well as instructing recruits on home-made bombs, according to the NISS.

Meanwhile, last week, military intelligence agencies in eastern Africa met in Addis Ababa and consulted on regional security, terrorism and other issues of common concern.

The forum was attended by officials from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda.

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The meeting emphasised the importance of ongoing vigilance and concerted efforts among regional countries to increase cooperation in addressing security threats, as well as taking stock of the state of the previous meeting’s conclusions and recommendations.

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