Sunday, May 22, 2005

US Warns of Possible Terrorist Attacks During Eritrean Liberation Day

The United States is warning US citizens in Eritrea of the potential for terrorist attacks during this week's Liberation Day ceremonies, recalling a deadly bombing during the 2004 festivities.

The US embassy in Asmara said Americans in the Horn of Africa nation should take extra security precautions during events centered around Tuesday's commemoration of the 14th anniversary of Eritrean independence.

US citizens "should exercise special caution during these celebrations," it said in a notice issued on Friday. "Watch for suspicious persons, vehicles, activities or packages and take particular care for your safety."

Most events are set for Monday and Tuesday and are expected to draw large crowds which have in the past been targets for terrorists in Eritrea, the embassy said, noting a May 25, 2004 bombing in the western town of Barentu.

"The US embassy does not want to discourage people from taking part in Independence Day celebrations, however, we do wish to remind you that there was an attack on Barentu last year during the Liberation Day celebration," it said.

The embassy added that "huge crowds have been traditional terrorist targets in Eritrea and that medical care in this country is very limited."

At least five people were killed and 88 wounded, 25 seriously, in the attack in Barentu last year which Eritrean officials blamed on "members of radical groups" in Sudan backed by Eritrea's arch-rival Ethiopia.

At the time, Eritrean authorities accused Addis Ababa and Khartoum of sponsoring "terrorism" and said they had foiled two similar attacks planned for the 2004 independence day celebrations.

Sudan Tribune

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