Explosion hits Ethiopian PM’s rally

Explosion hits Ethiopian PM’s rally

Explosion hits Ethiopian PM’s rallyThere were no immediate details of any casualties, according to BBC.

An explosion hit Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s rally attended by thousands of people here on Saturday.

Mr. Ahmed was taken away by security personnel immediately after his speech in the capital’s Meskel Square. There were no immediate details of any casualties, the BBC reported citing the local media.

The Addis Standard news website quoted a police officer as saying it was a “minor explosion” and “only a few were hurt”.

Mr. Ahmed became the Prime Minister after his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegn unexpectedly resigned in February. He is the country’s first leader from the ethnic Oromo group, which has been at the centre of nearly three years of anti-government protests that left hundreds of people dead.

Ethiopia has been riven by years of protests by people who feel marginalised. The government has been accused of human rights violations including torture and extrajudicial killing of political dissidents.

A well-orchestrated attack: PM

Addressing the country minutes after he was hurried to safety, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said “a few people” had been killed and others injured. He called the blast a “well-orchestrated attack” but one that failed. He did not lay blame but said police were investigating. An Associated Press reporter saw more than a dozen injured people.

The attack was “cheap and unacceptable,” the Prime Minister said, and added- “Love always wins. Killing others is a defeat. To those who tried to divide us, I want to tell you that you have not succeeded.”

The 42-year-old Abiy took office in April and quickly announced the release of tens of thousands of prisoners, the opening of state-owned companies to private investment and the unconditional embrace of a peace deal with rival Eritrea. Websites were unblocked and opposition figures were invited to dinner. Ethiopians said they could hardly keep up with the pace of change.

Saturday’s rally began as a show of exuberance, with supporters wearing clothes displaying Abiy’s image and carrying signs saying “One Love, One Ethiopia.”

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