Suspected of the Saturday Meskel Square rally bomb blast in Addis Ababa the federal police says it has arrested over 30 people. The bomb was blasted near the stage where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who addressed the gathering was sitting. The video footage shows his body guards and other government officials covering the Prime Minister and walking him out of the stage.
Those arrested and under investigation include Addis Ababa Police deputy Commissioner Girma Kassa and high ranking police officers at the working at the federal police and in Addis Ababa. Before his arrest right after the attack, Deputy Police Commissioner of the capital Girma Kassa was seen on state broadcaster ETV and a regional government TV – Oromia Media Network – commenting on the incident.
Two eye witnesses interviewed on Walta TV (one woman and man) stated that they saw the driver of the police car throw a journalist on the ground from the car who was shooting pictures and took her camera. Then the crowed that refused to trust the police around, took the driver to the Prime Minister office and handed over to the premier.
Out of the total of 156 causalities of the attack two have reportedly died while the remaining are getting treatment at three different government hospitals in Addis Ababa, according to the ministry of health.
Currently only 46 are being treated at the hospital while the remaining have got treatment for light injuries and sent to their homes.
According to eye witnesses, the attack is associated with individuals seen coming out of a police car parked within the crowd, and other two women, who look mentally ill of which one dropped bomb in a black plastic bag in the crowd near the stage.
Four to five million people have attended the rally organized in support of the reforms being undertaken by the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, according to the organizers who most were victims of the injustices the country and the ruling party has been criticized for.
Many neighboring countries and development partners of Ethiopia has expressed their solidarity with the reforms the prime Minister has been advancing and condemned the evil act, which aimed at sabotaging the political, economic and social reform of the country by its new leadership.
“Fantastic to be a witness to the Ethiopian people’s massive outpouring of support for continued political and economic reforms at today’s meeting at Meskel Square. The cowardly attempt on PM Abiy’s life will not change anything,” twitted Johan Borgstam, European Union Ambassador to Ethiopia.
“I convey my deepest condolences and solidarity to @PM_AbiyAhmed and the people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia following the cowardly and outrageous attack in Addis Ababa. Kenya stands with Ethiopia against these cowardly people,” Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta twitted.
“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,” said, the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa.
Following the incident, the government of Ethiopia has announced that the day of the rally, June 23, will be commemorated annually as a “National Day of Love, Forgiveness and Togetherness”.
“The change isn’t limited to reforming the repressive & exploitative security & political economic apparatuses of the TPLF. Abiy is dismantling the authoritarian legacy & nature of the Ethiopian state, & setting the tone for an inclusive democratic transition,” twitted Hallelujah Lulie, political analyst and Program Director @africa_amani.
In a related development on the same day, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has also survived from a bomb attack at an election rally. “This afternoon, as we were leaving a wonderful rally in Bulawayo, there was an explosion on the stage. Several people were affected by the blast, and I have already been to visit them in the hospital,” President Mnangagwa twitted.