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.


Fire sweeps through Bangladesh slum, nine dead

Updated 17 February 2019
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Fire sweeps through Bangladesh slum, nine dead

  • Fires regularly break out in Bangladesh’s slums, where millions live in squalid living conditions

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh: A fire tore through a slum in southern Bangladesh on Sunday killing at least 9 people and destroying hundreds of shanty homes, police said.
The blaze broke out in the port city of Chittagong at about 3.30 A.M. and raced through the district of bamboo, tin and tarpaulin homes, said local police chief Pranab Chowdhury.
“At least 470 shanties were destroyed by the fire. So far 9 people have died. They included four members of a family,” fire brigade official Hefazatul Islam said.
Fires regularly break out in Bangladesh’s slums, where millions live in squalid living conditions.
Rights groups have in the past alleged some shanty town blazes were deliberate acts of sabotage by developers seeking to free up property to construct multi-story buildings.
“We have seen fires are used as a weapon to evict poor slum dwellers and squatters from government or private property,” rights activist Nur Khan Liton said.