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Chaos in Addis Ababa

Storyline:National News

The death toll from a grenade attack on a pro-government rally in Ethiopia’s capital climbed to two yesterday, a cabinet minister said, as s tate media reported 30 arrests over the blast, including several police officers.

The attack occurred in a packed public square in Addis Ababa as new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was wrapping up a speech before tens of thousands of people.

“I’m so sorry to learn that we have lost another Ethiopian victim of yesterday’s attack,” Health Minister Amir Aman tweeted.

Initially one person was reported to have died, but Abiy himself emerged safe and sound.

Chaos that erupted after the blast, as panicked crowds moved towards the stage, injured more than 150 people and marred an event meant to build public support for Abiy’s ambitious reform agenda.

Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation reported 30 people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the blast, along with a number of police officers.

“Nine Addis Ababa police commission officials and members who showed weakness during the rally have been arrested, including the deputy Addis Ababa police commissioner,” the state-run broadcaster said

Abiy later visited hospitals where victims of the attack were being treated, his chief of staff said on Twitter.

One of Addis Ababa’s largest football teams yesterday organised a blood drive for the injured.

No group has publicly claimed responsibility for the attack, a rare instance of violence in the heavily policed capital.

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