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.


Pence quashes Trump rift reports

Updated 56 min 43 sec ago
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Pence quashes Trump rift reports

  • Pence told reporters in Port Moresby that they had still had a good rapport, despite a previous report from The New York Times
  • The New York Times said Trump has taken to asking several advisers whether the vice president is loyal

PORT MORESBY: US Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday dismissed reports of a rift with his boss President Donald Trump, saying the pair laughed about the suggestion in a phone call.
Following a New York Times report that suggested Trump was privately questioning the loyalty of his deputy, Pence told reporters in Port Moresby that they had still had a good rapport.
“I’m just tempted not to dignified it with a comment,” he said after a pause, adding that the pair had spoken by phone and “it came up.”
“We had a good laugh,” said Pence. “We’ve got a very strong relationship.”
“I’ve been honored to serve as his vice president, I was honored when he asked me to run with him.”
The New York Times said Trump has taken to asking several advisers whether the vice president is loyal — which they say is usually a sign he has “grown irritated” with someone, according to the paper.
Trump has not openly suggested dropping Pence from the ticket with the 2020 presidential election rapidly approaching, the New York Times stressed.
But according to the paper, some advisers have suggested Trump could benefit from a running mate who would help him win support from women.