November 23, 2001

Two bombs explode in Ecuador capital

                 QUITO, Ecuador -- Two small bombs exploded in Ecuador's capital within two
                 hours Thursday, one in front of Congress and the other a few feet from the
                 government palace. There were no reported injuries or damage.

                 National Police Chief Jorge Molina told reporters that fliers attributed to an
                 unknown group calling itself MRA were found at the site of the explosion outside
                 the Congress building in Quito.

                 The fliers demanded that the government provide better economic conditions "for
                 the people," Molina said in a news conference before the second explosion.

                 Papers with the name of a small student protest movement, the Group of Popular
                 Combatants, were seen at the site of the second explosion, which occurred outside
                 the presidential palace in Quito's main plaza, witnesses said.

                 Molina said fliers from the MRA group were found at the site of a small explosion
                 Tuesday in front of the National Finance Corporation, a state-run financing
                 organization. There were no injuries in that incident either.

                 Police were investigating two young men who apparently fled the scene of the first
                 explosion Thursday.

                 "We are not going to allow the presence of terrorist groups," Molina said.

                 There are no known guerrilla groups in Ecuador, although authorities said last
                 month they were investigating the possible presence a rebel group calling itself the
                 Revolutionary Amazonian Combatants near the Colombian border.

                  Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.