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Police chief detained after deadly blast at Ethiopia PM’s rally

Ethiopian officials say two people have died and dozens more are injured, after an explosion at a huge political rally for the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

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Ethiopian officials say two people have died and dozens more are injured, after an explosion at a huge political rally for the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

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

He was whisked away immediately after the blast, thought to be from a grenade thrown amid thousands of people in Addis Ababa’s Meskel Square.

The capital’s deputy chief of police is in custody over security lapses.
A further eight policemen have been detained and are under investigation for failing to secure the site.

Ethiopia’s health minister tweeted that two people had died. He said 44 people remained in hospital, five of them in a critical condition.

Mr Abiy only became prime minister after his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegn unexpectedly resigned in February.

He is also the country’s first leader from the ethnic Oromo group, which has been at the centre of nearly three years of anti-government protests that have left hundreds of people dead.

Since taking office he has begun passing a series of reforms, including unblocking hundreds of websites and TV channels.

The blast happened moments after Mr Abiy had finished a speech in the capital.

He has also said he is ready to implement in full a peace deal with Eritrea that was signed in 2000 after a two-year war.

Eritrea has condemned the attack on Mr Abiy’s rally.

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Tunisia President Saied dares opposition, defends new constitution despite criticism

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Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has defended his proposed new constitution despite widespread criticism and protest by opposition figures, saying the the constitution when passed, would not restore authoritarian rule.

Most political parties and civil society groups have continued to oppose the constitution saying it was drawn up unilaterally by Saied’s allies whom he handpicked to do his bidding.

The critics have also questioned the legitimacy of the constitution with a referendum set for July 25 which they say would give Tunisians less than four weeks to decide on it with no minimum rate of participation for it to pass.

The head of the committee that prepared the first draft the constitution, Sadok Belaid, also criticised the version which Saied rewrote, saying the president’s version was “dangerous and paves the way for a disgraceful dictatorial regime.”

But while hitting back at the opposition and the wave of criticism that followed the publication of the draft in the Tunisian National Gazzete, Saied on Tuesday, urged the people to support it in the referendum to adopt the constitution.

In a letter addressed to Tunisian and published by state, Saied assured that fears by those against the new constitution are misplaced as there was no danger to Tunisians’ rights and freedoms.

“Everyone knows what Tunisia has suffered for decades, especially the last decade. They emptied state coffers. The poor got poorer, the corrupt got richer,” Said narrated, while accusing critics of the constitution of “slanders, far from reality”.

Saied entered the bad books of most opposition figures in the North African country when he ousted the elected parliament and set out to rule by decree which many had termed a coup.

He further angered many by dissolving the electoral commission and named a new body with himself as the head. Not done, Saied also sacked 57 judges last month, accusing them of supporting Islamists.

But his supporters say he is “standing up to elite forces whose bungling and corruption have condemned Tunisia to a decade of political paralysis and economic stagnation.”

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Sudan’s junta leader, General al-Burhan, promises to withdraw army from civilian government

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Leader of Sudan’s military junta, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has promised he will withdraw the army from further participating in political discussions aimed at ushering in a transitional civilian government.

General al-Burhan made the promise on Monday following another week of violent anti-coup protests in the capital Khartoum and other major cities which led to the killing of over 10 protesters by overzealous security forces loyal to the military government.

The protests have become an almost weekly event since Gen al-Burhan staged a coup that ousted the civilian-led transitional government that followed the overthrow of longtime President Omar al-Bashir in 2019 was itself removed by a military coup in October 2021, and over 100 youths have been killed while several opposition figures have been arrested and clamped in detention.

But following last Thursday violence, which also saw at least 629 injured by security forces crackdown on the demonstrations and the worldwide condemnation that accompanied it, Gen. al-Burhan was forced to react by vowing to withdraw the army from government.

“The armed forces will not stand in the way of democratic transition or interfere in elections in which the Sudanese people choose who will govern them,” al-Burhan said in a televised address, while also affirming the military’s commitment to working towards a seamless transition to democracy.

Al-Burhan added that a new ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would be created after the formation of the government and it will only be responsible for security and defence tasks and “related responsibilities” in agreement with the government.

The army’s withdrawal from the political talks is aimed at allowing the political groups to form the technocrat government, he said.

However, pro-democracy groups and the protest leaders are sceptical about al-Burhan keeping true to his promise, as they have repeatedly said they will not negotiate with the military, and have called for them to immediately hand the reins to a civilian government.

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