DUSHANBE, Oct 9: A woman blew herself up with a grenade at the Emergencies Ministry in the central Asian country of Tajikistan on Sunday, police said, without giving any clues as to why she did it.

Apart from the woman, who died in an ambulance on the way to hospital, there were no other casualties in the blast outside the ministry building, which has been the target of still largely unexplained bomb attacks in the past.

Tajikistan, a Muslim nation of seven million bordering Afghanistan, remains volatile and flooded with weapons after a 1992-97 civil war between Islamist guerillas and the secular government that claimed more than 100,000 lives.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is due to visit the country next week as part of a wider tour of the region.

“The explosion, according to preliminary information, was the fault of a female suicide bomber, who had an explosive device in her bag,” a police spokesman said.

The Emergencies Ministry, which handles civil emergencies and deals with some security matters, has been the target of two other attacks this year.

Western diplomats have said they believed the previous bombs were most likely linked to a business dispute or a political vendetta — and were not evidence of a wider insurgency.

In June, a powerful bomb rocked the building in the centre of the capital, Dushanbe, leaving several people with light injuries. The Interior Minister said at the time he could not rule out “terrorist” involvement in the explosion.

In January, a blast, believed to be a car bomb, shook the same building, killing one man.

The Security Ministry launched criminal investigations into both bombings and arrested a number of people but has not yet released any final conclusions.—Reuters

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