HARARE, Zimbabwe -- A bomb shattered the lobby of a luxury Sheraton hotel Saturday, injuring three people and threatening to jeopardize Zimbabwe's plans to host the annual meeting of British Commonwealth countries in October.
The explosion propelled glass and chrome through the large lobby area of the southern African hotel, which was evacuated and temporarily closed following the blast.
The hotel's general manager, Robert Barsby, said three employees sustained minor injuries and were treated and released from a hospital. None of the 250 hotel guests was injured.
The bomb, hidden behind a couch near the entrance to ground-floor restaurants, went off at 12:38 a.m., Barnsby said.
The blast ignited a fire. Glass was shattered throughout the two- story lobby, furniture tossed about and huge chandeliers scattered around the hotel. Doors were blown off their hinges, including those to the adjacent Harare International Conference Center where the Commonwealth summit of 50 heads of government is to be held.
No one claimed responsibility for the bomb.
Standing amid the still-smoldering wreckage, security minister Sydney Sekeramayi said the motive might have been to upset plans for the Commonwealth summit, set for Oct. 16-22.
'We cannot rule that out. Some Commonwealth delegates would be staying at this hotel,' Sekeramayi said. 'An act of terrorism like this may cause some people to be apprehensive and think there is a lack of security in Zimbabwe.'