Blasts in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe condemned

26 June 2018 | Government

President Hage Geingob has called for calm and respect for the rule of law following bomb blasts in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia.

An attempt was made to assassinate Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa at a stadium in Bulawayo; while another explosion disrupted a rally for Ethiopia's reformist prime minister Abiy Ahmed, killing one person and injuring 132 others. Both explosions occurred on Saturday.

Abiy had just finished addressing tens of thousands of supporters at Meskel Square in the capital, Addis Ababa, when a grenade detonated, one rally organiser said.

In Bulawayo, Mnagagwa had left the podium when the bomb went off.

“The only legitimate path towards forming a government in the African Union is by winning peaceful, free and fair elections, and such a process should be respected in Zimbabwe where elections are due on 30 July this year,” Geingob said.

Commenting on the blast in Ethiopia, Geingob said: “The rule of law should prevail.”

On Sunday, Ethiopian police chief Zeinu Jemal told the state-owned Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation: “The number of suspects in custody for involvement in the attack in Meskel Square has now reached 30.”

Nine officers, including the deputy head of the police commission in Addis Ababa, were arrested for security lapses, according to official sources, Deutsche Welle reported.

In Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa indirectly blamed disaffected elements within his ruling Zanu-PF party for an explosion at a weekend rally that injured dozens of supporters, including the country's vice-president, Constantino Chiwenga, Financial Times reported.

Mnangagwa told state media on Saturday that “people outside Bulawayo ... my normal enemies” were behind the blast. “It's not the first attempt on my life,” he said. “It exploded inches away from me but it is not my time.”

Zimbabwean officials have said that planned elections will go ahead despite the bomb blast.

STAFF REPORTER

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