Ethiopia’s prime minister has condemned the killing of at least one person and a hundred others wounded in an explosion at a rally attended by him and thousands of others in Addis Ababa on Saturday, a state-affiliated media outlet said.
Supporters of the prime minister took part in the rally in support of reforms announced by the new government.
Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed attended Saturday’s massive rally at the capital’s Meskel square.
Footage from an Ethiopian news agency showed the prime minister being taken away by his security detail moments after the sound of an explosion was heard at the square.
The explosion occurred shortly Abiy finished his speech, according to the Addis Standard news website.
The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation quoted the prime minister as saying that “all the casualties are martyrs of love and peace”.
“Love always wins. Killing others is a defeat,” he added. No exact figures were given.
The attack was carried out by groups bent on undermining reforms, the prime minister said, Fana reported.
Dr Abiy vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice. No group has said it was behind the explosion.
Fitsum Arega, chief of staff at the Ethiopian prime minister’s office, tweeted the country “will overcome hate with love”.
“Some whose heart is filled with hate attempted a grenade attack. HE PM Abiy is safe,” he added.
We will overcome hate with love. 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. #Ethiopia ፍቅርያሸንፋል
— Fitsum Arega (@fitsumaregaa) June 23, 2018
Since his appointment three months ago, Abiy has announced some major changes in the country including releasing jailed Ginbot 7 officials and other dissidents and moving to liberalise the economy.
On Friday, Arega said on Twitter that the government had unblocked 246 websites and TV channels in the latest reform, adding that “freedom of expression is a foundational right”.