24 Jun 2018

Zimbabwe's president survives bomb blast at rally

7:50 am on 24 June 2018

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa has survived an apparent bomb attack at a rally in the city of Bulawayo.

Injured people are evacuated after an explosion at the stadium in Bulawayo where Zimbabwe President just addressed a rally.

Injured people are evacuated after an explosion at the stadium in Bulawayo where Zimbabwe President just addressed a rally. Photo: AFP

Mr Mnangagwa said an object "exploded a few inches away from me - but it is not my time".

Video footage from White City Stadium shows an explosion happening close to Mr Mnangagwa as he was leaving the stage having addressed supporters.

While the president was unhurt, state TV reported that Vice-President Kembo Mohadi suffered a leg injury.

Mr Mnangagwa said he had visited the injured in hospital. He condemned the violence as senseless and pleaded for unity.

Mr Mnangagwa came to power last November, ousting his former mentor Robert Mugabe.

The president was in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city and an opposition stronghold, to campaign for his Zanu-PF party ahead of nationwide elections taking place on 30 July.

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Photo: AFP

The elections are the first in Zimbabwe since Mr Mugabe was ousted after 37 years in power.

Presidential spokesman George Charamba told the Zimbabwe Herald newspaper that there were eight or nine injured people, most of whom had been attended to and discharged from hospital.

"Vice-President Mohadi is nursing some leg injuries but he is in good spirit," he said.

Marry Chiwenga, the wife of Zimbabwe's First Vice-President, Constantino Chiwenga, was also injured and pictures on social media showed the president visiting her in hospital.

State broadcaster ZBC also reported that Zanu PF national chairman Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, political commissar Engelbert Rugeje and some ZBC crew members were also injured.

The US Embassy in Harare condemned the attack.

- BBC

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