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Saturday, November 6, 1999 Published at 19:29 GMT

World: Africa

Bomb blast in gay clubland

The Blah Bar in central Cape Town

Six people were injured when a bomb exploded at a pub in the heart of Cape Town's gay clubland in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The explosion ripped through the packed Blah Bar shortly after midnight.

Police Captain Mark Romburgh said it appeared that the explosive device, which was placed 5 metres from the bar entrance, was a pipe bomb similar to those used in a spate of terror attacks in the city in the past two years.

Two of the injured were reported to be in critical condition.

One man was in danger of losing part of his foot, and another was undergoing surgery to have shrapnel removed from his neck.

Co-owner of the club Chris Gordon was one of those less seriously injured.

Her partner, Glyn Delaney said the bar was full at the time of the attack.

"It was chaos. There were people and glass and ambulances everywhere," she said.

Police said there might have been more casualties had the bomb not been planted behind a wall.

History repeats

The owners, gay activists and tourism officials expressed concern that it may have been motivated by anti-gay sentiment.

Cape Town Tourism manager Sheryl Ozinsky said: "We hope this incident is not reactive against the gay community in Cape Town because that is tantamount to bringing back prejudices of the past."

There were 79 bomb attacks in Cape Town last year, including a blast which killed two people and injured 26 in a Planet Hollywood restaurant near the Blah Bar, and several this year.

In September, police said attacks had tapered off and they believed their anti-terror campaign was working.

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