ADDIS ABABA. Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa plans to ban motorcycles in the city from July in a bid to curb a spree of muggings and robberies, local authorities said on Wednesday.

Addis Ababa Mayor Takele Uma said motorcycles had been used in recent crimes and the city would prohibit them from July 7 though people using them for business may be exempt.

"Exceptions will be made to those conducting licensed businesses with motorcycles as well as those who use motorcycles as postal carriers and motorcycles affiliated to embassies," the mayor told journalists.

Addis Ababa, a city of an estimated five million, is generally considered safe for residents and foreigners.

But a growing number of violent crimes involving suspects on motorcycles or in cars has caused alarm.

The mayor said the proposed ban came after a study of criminal activities in the city found a significant number were carried out using motorcycles.

Mr Takele said the Addis Ababa municipal administration will also impose a ban on trips by most freight vehicles in the city during daytime to alleviate traffic congestion in the capital