Arrests announced as death toll rises in Ethiopia attack

The organizer of the pro-government rally in Ethiopia that was hit by a grenade blast said the attacker had aimed for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed but was stopped by police. (AFP / Yonas Tadese)
Updated 24 June 2018
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Arrests announced as death toll rises in Ethiopia attack

  • The death toll from a grenade attack on a pro-government rally in Ethiopia's capital climbed to two on Sunday
  • The blast occurred in a packed public square as Ethiopia's new prime minister Abiy Ahmed was wrapping up a speech before tens of thousands of people

ADDIS ABABA: The death toll from a grenade attack on a pro-government rally in Ethiopia's capital climbed to two on Sunday, a cabinet minister said, as police announced arrests over the blast.
"I’m so sorry to learn that we have lost another Ethiopian victim of yesterday’s attack," health minister Amir Aman tweeted.
"My sincere sympathy and condolences to the family, friends and all Ethiopians."
The blast occurred in a packed public square as Ethiopia's new prime minister Abiy Ahmed was wrapping up a speech before tens of thousands of people.
The ensuing chaos injured more than 150 people and marred an event meant to build public support for Abiy's ambitious reform agenda.
State-run Ethiopian News Agency reported police had arrested six people suspected of involvement in the blast, but gave few details.
No group has publicly claimed responsibility for the attack.
Abiy took office in April after years of anti-government unrest that pushed his predecessor to resign and the government to declare a nationwide state of emergency.
He's since announced plans to liberalise the economy and reconcile with neighbouring arch-enemy Eritrea.
Abiy also lifted the state of emergency and released scores of jailed dissidents.
Ethiopia is completely controlled by the secretive Ethiopia People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), and its unclear how much support Abiy has within the party.
The 42-year-old former government minister and army officer is the first prime minister in modern Ethiopia from the country's largest ethnicity the Oromo, which spearheaded the anti-government protests.


UK police think boy, 3, was attacked with acid at store

British police officers speak to members of the public in St Pancras station in London, in this file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 29 min 7 sec ago
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UK police think boy, 3, was attacked with acid at store

  • Police also report that innocuous liquids sometimes are thrown into the face of mugging targets to make them think they have been hit with a corrosive substance, panic and give up their valuables more easily
  • Most of the attacks have happened in London, but they have been reported in many parts of Britain

LONDON: A 3-year-old boy suffered severe burns on his face and arm during a suspected acid attack in England that investigators think was deliberate, police said Sunday.
West Mercia police Chief Superintendent Mark Travis said police were working to identify the substance that burned the child Saturday at a discount store in Worcester.
A 39-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm. Three others were being sought for questioning and police released photos to generate public tips.
“At this time we are treating this as a deliberate attack,” Travis said in a statement. “The incident will rightly shock the local community, and I would like to reassure local people that we are carrying out a thorough investigation.”
British police have reported seeing an increase in acid attacks during the last year, but it is very rare for a victim to be so young. Some attacks are related to gang fights or late-night bar confrontations.
Most of the attacks have happened in London, but they have been reported in many parts of Britain. A London teenager was given a prison sentence of more than 10 years this year after being convicted of spraying acid into the faces of moped drivers so he could steal their mopeds.
Police also report that innocuous liquids sometimes are thrown into the face of mugging targets to make them think they have been hit with a corrosive substance, panic and give up their valuables more easily.
Robin Walker, the Worcester representative in Parliament, said lawmakers are considering allowing tougher sentences for people convicted of any type of intentional assault with acid.
He described what happened to the 3-year-old boy as “horrific.”
A police statement late Sunday afternoon said the boy had been discharged from the hospital. He has not been identified.