Saturday, June 23, 2018

Ethiopia Explosion: Six Suspects in Custody, As Allies Express Support for Abiy's Reforms
Daniel Mumbere

Several allies of Ethiopia have condoled with Ethiopians following a grenade attack that injured over 100 people at a rally organised in Addis Ababa on Saturday to express support for reforms by the new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.

The Ethiopian health minister, Amir Aman confirmed that one person had succumbed to their injuries, while at least 156 people were receiving treatment for injuries sustained during the grenade attack that happened this morning, just after Abiy finished his speech to the hundreds of thousands gathered.

Media portal Addis Standard reported that six suspects have under custody and are being investigated, according to the Commissioner General of the Ethiopian Federal Police Commission, Zeynu Jemal.

Ethiopia’s allies express support

Messages of support have started pouring in from Ethiopia’s allies including the president of Djibouti, who described the attack as one done by people ‘who want to oppose the bold reforms to develop and strengthen national unity’ initiated by Abiy.

‘‘We reaffirm our commitment to Ethiopia’s stability as a strategic partner for the region’s economic development,’‘ president Ismail Omar Guelleh tweeted.

 We extend our deepest condolences to the victims of the explosion in Meskel Square and their families and wish the injured a quick recovery. Violence has no place as Ethiopia pursues meaningful political and economic reforms.

Addressing the nation on television shortly afterwards, Abiy said the attack was an “attempt by forces who do not want to see Ethiopia united.”

Abiy had promised in his rally speech to bring more transparency to government and reconciliation to a nation torn by years of protests. When speaking on television, he was still wearing a green T-shirt handed to him by rally organisers.

Eritrea, which has long been at loggerheads with Ethiopia over a border row that Abiy has sought to resolve, also condemned the incident.

Ethiopia PM ready to welcome Eritrean delegation for peace talks

Abiy took office after his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, resigned following protests that erupted in 2015 in the nation of 100 million people. Emergency law was temporarily imposed to quell the unrest and was lifted this month.

Despite boasting one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, opponents say the benefits have not been shared fairly between ethnic groups and regions in the country, which has been run by the same ruling coalition for more than quarter of a century.

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