Several people killed in blast at rally supporting new Ethiopian leader

1 hour 40 minutes ago

Several people were killed and injured in an explosion at a rally attended by thousands in Addis Ababa on Saturday, Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said.

The rally was being held in Ethiopia’s capital in support of the 41-year-old ex-soldier who has outlined a series of radical reforms since taking office in April.

BREAKING: Several killed in #AddisAbaba rally explosion, PM Abiy Ahmed says the attack was “well-orchestrated” #Ethiopia pic.twitter.com/qWm3jcjdQW— Ahmed Kosar (@AhmedKosar1) June 23, 2018

Ethiopia: PM Abiy Ahmed says ‘a few’ killed in Addis Ababa blast Explosion kills だそうです、たいへんですね。 https://t.co/RSsEGT6PSx— مقطوع آن (@Arabian_com) June 23, 2018

“A few Ethiopians were injured. There are a few people who lost their lives,” Abiy said in a televised addressed after the explosion, which occurred minutes after he finished his speech at the capital’s Meskel Square.

Abiy described the incident as “an unsuccessful attempt by forces who do not want to see Ethiopia united.”

“It was a grenade. Someone tried to hurl it to the stage where the prime minister was in,” Seyoum Teshome, a member of the organizing committee, said. “I saw some five people injured following the blast,” Seyoum told Reuters.

BREAKING: Several killed in explosion at #AddisAbaba during a rally in support as Ethiopia’s new reformist prime minister speaks.— Abdiqani Egeh (@AbdiqaniEgeh) June 23, 2018

Abiy stunned Ethiopians this month by saying he was prepared to fully implement a peace deal with Eritrea signed in 2000 and meant to end a two-year war between the country and its neighbor that devolved into a stalemate resulting in huge military build up by both countries.

It is one of many policy shifts announced since Abiy took office, moves that could reshape Ethiopia’s relations with its neighbors and have equally dramatic impacts inside the country of 100 million people.

REUTERS

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OPEC agrees to increase oil production by 1- mln barrels per day from July 1

1 hour 44 minutes ago

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member states Friday agreed at a meeting in Vienna to increase the oil production by one million barrels per day from July 1.

As some of them are not able to increase their production while others are not allowed to make up in their sated, the actual output could be less than the one million barrel target, experts said.

“The group is considering on the overall rather than individually, and I think this is quite an achievement. You don’t see this usually in an organization that everyone is looking at his own interests. I think the fact that collectively this group have reached this conclusion is a testimony that OPEC is caring about the market stability,” said Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, President of OPEC Conference, Energy and Industry Minister of United Arab Emirates.

OPEC member states and other world oil pumpers have jointly cut their production by 1.2 million barrels per day since 2016 to balance the oil market for 18 months.

However, due to the limited productivity of some countries, like Libya and Venezuela, the actual production reduction has overpassed the agreed amount, lifting the oil prices to the maximum of 80 U.S. dollars per barrel from 27 at the end of 2016.

Reuters

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Explosion rocks rally in support of new Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed

2 hours 1 minute ago

An explosion disrupted a huge rally for Ethiopia’s new, reformist prime minister on Saturday shortly after he spoke and was waving to the crowd that had turned out in numbers unseen in recent years in the East African nation.

The state broadcaster reported that a few people had been injured, and police said they were investigating. Footage showed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed being rushed from the scene by security guards.

The grenade attack at #Ethiopia’s new PM Abiy Ahmed in capital Addis Ababa rally is a sign that the elite who enjoyed power for decades aren’t happy with his unity program.— K H A D A R 254 (@khedira254) June 23, 2018

“It was a grenade. Someone tried to hurl it to the stage where the prime minister was in,” Seyoum Teshome, a member of the organizing committee, said.

A massive rally to support #Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed’s reform agenda in Addis Ababa,pic.twitter.com/BnW6SC3jyf : awolallo— qlstnfp (qlstnfp) June 23, 2018

Millions have gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Abiy Ahmed’s reform agenda. #March4Abiy #AbiyAhmed #Ethiopia #OromoProtests pic.twitter.com/DRXSKrgTbm— Oromticha Oromo (@OromtichOromo) June 23, 2018

#Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed addresses a massive rally in Addis Ababa, demo to show support for his reform agenda. He showed up at the march wearing a t-shirt with a map of Africa and Mandela’s famous “power” salute. pic.twitter.com/5GFS058NjE— Mus’ab (@Muscab_cadee) June 23, 2018

In a cowboy hat and T-shirt, Abiy had addressed the crowd in Addis Ababa’s Meskel Square as supporters wore clothes displaying his image and carried signs saying “One Love, One Ethiopia.”

Abiy told the crowd of tens of thousands that change was coming and there was no turning back.

“For the past 100 years hate has done a great deal of damage to us,” he said, stressing the need for even more reforms.

BREAKING: At the rally in Addis Ababa, right after PM Abiy’s speech there was a bomb explosion according to the state owned ETV. Sources say the PM is fine.— ECADF Ethiopian News (@ECADF) June 23, 2018

Explosion at rally attended by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa – 23 June 2018 #Ethiopia #AbiyAhmed pic.twitter.com/TJfBKJgPLN— Povo News (@povonewsafrica) June 23, 2018

#Ethiopia: Livestream of the political rally in Addis Ababa just ended abruptly after what sounded like an explosion.

A loud bang can be heard at 1:44:30 here: https://t.co/qHcr8Ezoq7 pic.twitter.com/HiE98CxHCe— Will Swanson (@willswanson) June 23, 2018

The 41-year-old Abiy took office in April and quickly surprised Africa’s second most populous country by announcing the release of tens of thousands of prisoners, the opening of state-owned companies to private investment and the unconditional embrace of a peace deal with rival Eritrea.

The United States is among those expressing support for the changes in a key security ally.

“I’ve never thought this day will come in Ethiopia. I’m very emotional right now,” said Mulugeta Sema, a supporter of Abiy who wore a T-shirt with the new leader’s image. “We should never get back to dictatorship. This is time for change.”

#BREAKING: An explosion has shaken a rally for #Ethiopia’s new PM #Abiy Ahmed which was being attended by thousands of people in #Addis Ababa.— ibrahim Haji (@IbraObrahim) June 23, 2018

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Comoros: 3 opposition leaders arrested during anti-referendum protest

3 hours 7 minutes ago

Leaders of three opposition parties were arrested by police on Friday in Moroni, Comoros during a protest denouncing the constitutional referendum scheduled for next month.

The three leaders, Moustoipha Said Cheihk, Mohamed Wadaane and Ibrahim Abdourazak dit Razida, were detained by the army outside the Grand Mosque of the Comorian capital. 

For several weeks, Friday prayers has been the scene of weekly clashes between the police and opposition supporters who denounce the “authoritarian rule” of the head of state .

This week, the army was forced to fire tear gas canisters to disperse protesters. 

The leader of a party hostile to the regime has already been sentenced this month to serve six months in prison and suspended for participating in a previous demonstration in front of the same mosque. 

Similar clashes also took place on Friday in Mutsamudu, capital of the island of Anjouan. A protester was wounded in the leg by a tear gas grenade, witnesses told AFP on the phone. 

President Azali has scheduled a referendum on July 29 that would allow him to run for a second consecutive term as head of Comoros.

This decision has been criticised many of his opponents, including those of Vice President Ahmed Said Jaffar, who deem it “dangerous” and “contrary” to the Constitution. 

In recent weeks, the head of state has suspended the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country. He has placed his predecessor and rival Ahmed Abdallah Sambi under house arrest and banned demonstrations. 

President Azali was elected in 2016 for a non-renewable five-year term, according to the constitution.

An African Union (AU) mission is expected in Moroni on Saturday to try to ease political tensions.

AFP

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Gambian president pays tribute to 3 civilians killed by police at anti-pollution protest

3 hours 44 minutes ago

Gambian President Adama Barrow has paid tribute to the three protesters who were killed Monday by police during a protest at Faraba Banta, 50 kilometers south of the capital, Banjul. Adama Barrow also called on residents to testify before the inquiry committee charged with shedding light on the incident.

“I was very sad the day the incident happened, I’ve never been so sad since I became president I was so sad that I could not go to pray at the mosque of the presidency “, Barrow said.

Brother of one of the victims, Ebrima Bah is seeking for justice.

“I expect only one thing from the authorities, justice, I want justice to be done in this case, I want the guilty, those who caused the death of my brother be judged, and that the law applies to them’‘, Bah said.

Faraba Banta Development Committee Advisor, Pa Baboucarr Jobe was emotional about the incident.

‘‘So when I came back, what I found was disheartening.” This is a very unprofessional. What I saw was so bad, it was like a war zone I’ve never witnessed such kind of … such kind of incident before “, Jobe added.

AFP reports that the Gambia’s police chief Landing Kinteh resigned Thursday over deaths of the three young men after police fired on marchers at an anti-pollution protest.

Locals have been protesting at Faraba Banta, over mining of sand which they say is badly polluting rice farms.

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East African Court of Justice rules Tanzania newspaper ban illegal

6 hours 47 minutes ago

The East African Court of Justice has ruled that Tanzania must annul the publication ban placed on a local weekly newspaper two years ago.

Mseto was suspended for three years in August 2016 after publishing allegations that President John Magufuli’s successful election campaign the previous year had been partly financed through corrupt means.

Tanzania’s Information Ministry banned Mseto for “publishing incitements and false news”.

However, the court said the suspension must be lifted as the newspaper had not “violated the public interest, or the interest of peace and good order” and that the ban is “in violation of the right of freedom of expression”.

There was no immediate response from Tanzanian authorities.

Since his election, Magufuli has closed several critical newspapers while rights groups have protested against the imposition of new restrictive laws on freedom of expression.

Pressure group Reporters Without Borders ranked Tanzania 93rd out of 180 countries worldwide in its 2018 World Press Freedom Index, down 10 places on the previous year.

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