Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed escaped a grenade attack on Saturday at a rally in the capital although scores of people were wounded, officials and witnesses said.
The attack was launched by an unidentified assailant moments after 41-year-old prime minister, a former soldier who took office in April, finished his speech to tens of thousands of people gathered in Meskel Square in the center of Addis Ababa.
A witness saw Abiy whisked away by guards. Another witness told Reuters the assailant who carried the grenade had been wrestled to the ground by police before it exploded.
The prime minister’s chief of staff said 83 people were wounded, with six in critical condition. But he said no one was killed, despite earlier statements by the authorities indicating several deaths. A senior police officer said 100 were wounded.
Addressing the nation on television shortly afterwards, Abiy said the attack was an “attempt by forces who do not want to see Ethiopia united.”