A massive explosion struck a rally held by supporters of Ethiopia's reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed at Meskel Square in capital Addis Ababa earlier on Saturday, June 23. Many were injured while several were feared killed.
Ahmed, who took charge of the presidency in April this year, said in a televised address shortly after the blast that it was a "well-orchestrated attack" and an "unsuccessful attempt by forces who do not want to see Ethiopia united".
The 42-year-old prime minister also offered condolences to the victims' kin. According to Al Jazeera, however, Ahmed's Chief of Staff Fitsum Arega later said that 83 people were injured in the blast but none was killed. Arega had earlier tweeted that unidentified assailants had launched a grenade at the rally and informed that PM Ahmed was safe.
Al Jazeera journalist Dereje Berhanu was on the spot when the blast took place and described the incident as a witness later. According to him, the police said more than 100 people were injured and of them, 15 were admitted in the hospital in serious conditions.
PM Ahmed was rushed to a safer position immediately after the blast. The first from the ethnic Oromo group to become Ethiopia's prime minister, Ahmed initiated a series of reforms after taking over the presidency and said he is ready to implement the peace deal signed with neighbour Eritrea in 2000 after a two-year war.