World News

Dozens injured after blast hits rally attended by Ethiopian leader

Posted June 23, 2018 3:25 a.m. EDT
Updated June 23, 2018 9:32 a.m. EDT

— Dozens were injured in an explosion Saturday at a rally in Addis Ababa attended by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, officials said.

In footage from Ethiopian state TV, bodyguards rush Ahmed unharmed off the stage where he had been seated after a blast rings out.

"There were a few casualties. Details will be provided later," government spokesman Ahmed Shide said, adding that "a few" deaths are likely.

At least 114 people were hospitalized with injuries, some of them critical, said Solomon Ali of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society.

"It was very hard to transfer wounded people because there were dozens of thousands of people at the rally," Ali said.

The blast occurred after the 41-year-old leader had finished giving a speech before thousands of supporters in Meskel Square of the Ethiopian capital.

Ahmed was sworn in as Prime Minister in April on a platform to unite Ethiopians and improve relations with neighboring Eritrea.

Last week, he announced he was allowing access to 264 websites blocked under the previous regime.