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Ethiopia: Grenade attack caused blast at rally for PM Abiy Ahmed

An explosion has struck a large rally by supporters of Ethiopia’s new, reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Abiy had just wrapped up his speech at Addis Ababa’s Meskel Square before tens of thousands of people on Saturday when the explosion went off, sending droves of supporters towards the stage as the prime minister left hurriedly.

In an address broadcast afterwards on state television, Abiy said the blast was orchestrated by groups who wanted to undermine the rally but did not name them.

“The people who did this are anti-peace forces. You need to stop doing this. You weren’t successful in the past and you won’t be successful in the future.”

He said several people had been killed, but his chief of staff Fitsum Arega later said on Twitter that there were no deaths.

In an earlier post on Twitter, Fitsum said unidentified assailants launched a grenade attack on the rally.

“Some whose heart is filled with hate attempted a grenade attack. HE PM Abiy is safe. All the casualties are martyrs of love & peace. HE PM sends his condolences to the victims. The perpetrators will be brought to justice,” Fitsum said.