Ethiopia bomb attack: About 29 injured at pro-Abiy rally

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Map of Ambo, Ethiopia

A “bomb attack” on a rally in support of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed injured about 29 people Sunday, a police official said, in the latest sign of instability ahead of elections in August.

The incident occurred in the town of Ambo, located roughly 100 kilometres west of the capital, Addis Ababa.

“The bomb attack on a rally for Dr. Abiy has injured 29 people, of whom 28 have been treated and sent home,” Arasa Merdasa, the top police official in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, where Ambo is located, said.

An image of Ethiopians rallying in solidarity with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

“Police have arrested six people who are suspected in the attack,” Arasa said.

Ethiopia’s electoral board has scheduled landmark national polls for August 29.

Opposition parties and civil society organisations have questioned whether the elections will be peaceful and credible, citing persistent ethnic violence since Abiy was appointed in 2018 following several years of anti-government protests.

The formal campaign period begins in May.

Abiy did not attend Sunday’s rally, which was organised by officials in Ambo.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

Abiy, the winner of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, hopes the elections will secure him a mandate to continue with an ambitious agenda of political and economic reforms.

Arasa said Sunday’s attack was believed to be the work of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), the breakaway armed wing of the Oromo Liberation Front, an opposition party.

Officials have also blamed the OLA for the assassination on Friday of the top security official in Burayu, another Oromia town located on the outskirts of Addis Ababa.

That attack left three other people injured, and police “vowed to hunt down” those responsible.

 

Chidi Nwoke.