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Thursday October 5, 2000

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State TV: Ivory Coast bomb kills 4

By The Associated Press

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - A bomb ripped through an Abidjan bus terminal yesterday evening, killing four people and injuring six, state television reported.

The bomb exploded in the hands of "mal-intentioned men," the report said in an apparent reference to the attackers. The television report showed pictures of bloody and mangled corpses at the terminal in the working class Adjame neighborhood.

There was no immediate confirmation of the report, which came amid rising tension ahead of the Oct. 22 presidential elections to restore civilian rule.

The country's ruling junta said yesterday it was implementing a state of emergency and curfew over the weekend, when the Supreme Court is expected to announce the candidates approved to run. Its deadline is Saturday.

The state of emergency would run from 6 a.m. Friday until 6 p.m. Monday, Communications Minister Henri Cesar Sama said, allowing the interior minister to control circulation, ban meetings and close venues as needed, "to guarantee peace."

An additional 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew would be in effect over the same period, according to a decree signed yesterday by junta leader Gen. Robert Guei, Sama said on state-run television.

"This decree is aimed at preventing the severe threats weighing on the security of people and possessions during this pre-electoral period and which could destabilize the normal functioning of state institutions," the junta said in a statement after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Guei, who came to power after a Dec. 24 coup, has submitted an application to run. His supporters claim the candidate presented by a leading opposition party, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, is not eligible because his origins are in neighboring Burkina Faso.

Ouattara, a former prime minister and former International Monetary Fund official, insists both he and his parents were Ivorian-born.

Scores of Ouattara's supporters have surrounded his house for more than a week, fearing a move against him by the junta.

The December coup was the first military takeover in the nation's 40-year history. The coup and two military uprisings since have shaken the country's standing as a stable center in troubled West Africa.