Ethiopia: 29 injured in ‘bomb attack’ at pro-Abiy rally

A picture obtained from the Twitter account of the Office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed shows Ethiopian Prime minister Abiy Ahmed (R) meeting with Sirak Asfaw (L), who had kept hidden in his appartment in the Netherlands a 18th-century crown for two decades, during a ceremony to hand over the crown in Addis Ababa on February 20, 2020. (AFP)
Updated 23 February 2020

Ethiopia: 29 injured in ‘bomb attack’ at pro-Abiy rally

ADDIS ABABA: A “bomb attack” on a rally in support of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed injured nearly 30 people Sunday, a police official said, in the latest sign of instability ahead of elections in August.
The incident occurred in the town of Ambo, located roughly 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of the capital, Addis Ababa.
“The bomb attack on a rally for Dr. Abiy has injured 29 people, of whom 28 have been treated and sent home,” Arasa Merdasa, the top police official in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, where Ambo is located, told the state-run Ethiopian News Agency.
“Police have arrested six people who are suspected in the attack,” Arasa said.
Ethiopia’s electoral board has scheduled landmark national polls for August 29.
Opposition parties and civil society organizations have questioned whether the elections will be peaceful and credible, citing persistent ethnic violence since Abiy was appointed in 2018 following several years of anti-government protests.
The formal campaign period begins in May.
Abiy did not attend Sunday’s rally, which was organized by officials in Ambo.
Abiy, the winner of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, hopes the elections will secure him a mandate to continue with an ambitious agenda of political and economic reforms.
Arasa said Sunday’s attack was believed to be the work of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), the breakaway armed wing of the Oromo Liberation Front, an opposition party.
Officials have also blamed the OLA for the assassination on Friday of the top security official in Burayu, another Oromia town located on the outskirts of Addis Ababa.
That attack left three other people injured, and police “vowed to hunt down” those responsible, state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported.
Arasa declined to answer questions about the latest violence in Oromia when contacted Sunday, referring an AFP reporter to the Ethiopian News Agency report.


Number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia could hit 200,000, says health minister

Updated 7 min 17 sec ago

Number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia could hit 200,000, says health minister

  • Minister added it was vital the public cooperated with the government’s instructions and precautionary measures

RIYADH: The number of COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia could reach up to 200,000 within a few weeks, according to the Kingdom’s health minister.

Citing four Saudi and international studies on Tuesday, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the case figure is likely to see a constant increase rather than a decrease, Saudi Press Agency reported.

"Within the next few weeks, studies predict the number of infections will range from a minimum of 10,000 to a maximum of 200,000," Al-Rabiah said.

The minister added it was vital the public cooperated with the government’s instructions and precautionary measures to limit the number of infections.

“There is no doubt that our commitment to the instructions and procedures, in its entirety reduces the number of cases to the minimum, while non-compliance will lead to a huge increase in the number of cases,” he said.

“We stand today at a decisive moment as a society in raising our sense of responsibility and contributing together with determination to stop the spread of this pandemic,”

Many people were not taking the dangers of the pandemic seriously enough, according to the health minister, adding that the Kingdom had death with the crisis with full “transparency and clarity.”

The Saudi health ministry also announced on Tuesday that there were a total of 2,795 confirmed cases and the death toll from the virus in the Kingdom had reached 41.

A 24-hour curfew and lockdown has been imposed in the cities of Riyadh, Tabuk, Dammam, Dhahran and Al-Hofuf and in the governorates of Jeddah, Taif, Qatif and Khobar in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Last week, King Salman issued a decree which ordered treatment to be available for anyone in need of medical care, including people who have overstayed their visa in the Kingdom.