“Bomb attack” leaves 29 injured in Ethiopia

A “bomb attack” during a rally in support of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed left 29 people injured on Sunday, said a police official, again illustrating the instability in the country ahead of the elections scheduled for August.

“The bombing at the gathering of Dr. Abiy left 29 people injured, 28 of whom were treated and sent home,” Mr. Arasa Merdasa, a senior Ethiopian police official, told the official Ethiopian News Agency.

The meeting was held in the town of Ambo, about 100 km west of the capital, Addis Ababa. Abiy was not attending the rally, which was organized by officials in Ambo. “The police have arrested 6 people suspected of having committed this attack,” said the Ethiopian police official.

The Ethiopian Electoral Commission proposed on 15 January to hold the long-awaited general elections in August, in the middle of the rainy season, immediately attracting criticism. The polls are seen as a crucial step in the political transition being attempted by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, against a backdrop of increasing communal violence.

Having taken office in April 2018 after several months of anti-government protests, Mr. Abiy hopes that the Ethiopians will give him the mandate to implement the political and economic reforms he envisages fully.

The official campaign would start on May 28, with results to be released before September 8. Two opposition parties, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ezema, notably asked in January that the poll be postponed until the end of August, hoping that the rains would then be less dense.

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