INTRODUCTION: In Zimbabwe, five people died and another 150 were injured on Friday (18 December) when an explosion tore through the headquarters of the ruling ZANU-PF party in Salisbury.
GV Damaged building after bombing.
SV Ambulance arriving with police and troops.
SV PAN Stretcher bearers and military personnel outside bombed building. (3 SHOTS)
GV Street scene with crowd watching.
SV Stretcher bearers taking injured away. (3 SHOTS)
GV Military with firemen outside smoke-shrouded building. (3 SHOTS)
GV Injured being taken away in ambulance. (2 SHOTS)
GV Military and police clearing away debris. (3 SHOTS)
GV Cleaning-up operations in front of bombed building.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In Zimbabwe, five people died and another 150 were injured on Friday (18 December) when an explosion tore through the headquarters of the ruling ZANU-PF party in Salisbury. The six who died were working in a bakery next door, when a wall collapsed.
SYNOPSIS: The blast was heard for miles and police said some 40lbs (18.14 kilograms) of explosive were used. Troops and police were very quickly on to the scene.
Eyewitnesses said the blast appeared to have shattered the five-storey building. The bomb went off in a third-floor conference room, half an hour before the party's central committee was due to meet there. Most of the Zimbabwean Cabinet, including Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, could have been in the room and killed.
ZANU-PF occupies the top two floors of the building. A cafe on the ground floor was crowded when the bomb went off. The blast showered glass and debris for hundreds of yards (metres) along streets filled with Christmas shoppers.
The government-controlled radio station in Salisbury blamed South Africa for the attack. But, shortly after the blast, a government spokesman was quoted as saying there had been no real clue about who was responsible.
A spokesman said Prime Minister Mugabe was at home on Friday (18 December) working on preparations for a visit to Mozambique, due to start the following day. The spokesman did not know whether Mr. Mugabe had intended to go to the committee session. Since becoming the country's leader after his extensive guerilla campaigns, Mr. Mugabe has been worried about Zimbabwe's stability and his personal safety. He has frequently accused South Africa of training 5,000 men to overthrow his government. Recently, police arrested eight whites, including a member of parliament, on suspicion on subversion. Mr. Mugabe repeatedly warned his supporters to be alert for what he called 'the enemy'.