Explosion in Ethiopian Prime Minister’s rally claims 1 life

Shortly after he spoke and was waving to the cheering crowd that turned out to support sweeping changes in Africa’s second most populous nation.
An explosion struck a huge rally of Ethiopia’s reformist new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Saturday in Addis Ababa shortly after he spoke and was waving to the cheering crowd that turned out to support sweeping changes in Africa’s second most populous nation.
Addressing the country minutes after he was rushed to safety, Mr. Abiy called the blast a “well-orchestrated attack” but one that failed. He did not lay blame but said police were investigating. Health Minister Amir Aman confirmed one death while Mr. Abiy’s chief of staff said 83 people were hurt, six critically.
“The Prime Minster was the target,” a rally organiser, Seyoum Teshome, told the Associated Press (AP). “An individual tried to hurl the grenade toward a stage where the Prime Minister was sitting but was held back by the crowd.”
The man with the grenade was wearing a police uniform, witness Abraham Tilahun told the AP. Police officers nearby quickly restrained him, he said. “Then we heard the explosion.”
AP video from the scene showed a bloodstained ground and abandoned shoes while people chanting the Prime Minister’s name fled, some clutching their heads in shock and despair.
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 explosion in packed Meskel Square came after weeks of reforms that had shocked many in the east African nation after years of anti-government tensions, states of emergency, thousands of arrests and long Internet shutdowns.