Ethiopia: 5 charges with terrorism over PM assassination attempt

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Five people in Ethiopia have been charged with terrorism for trying to kill Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in a grenade attack during a rally in June.

Two people were killed in the attack and dozens more wounded by the explosion in the busy centre of Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Various people believed to have been involved in the attack, including the woman suspected of orchestrating it, remain at large.

5 charged with terrorism for trying to kill PM

The five suspects charged with terrorism are accused of operating under the name of the previously-banned Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which PM Abiy Ahmed removed from a terror list in July, inviting the group’s leaders to return to Addis Ababa and participate in Ethiopia’s political evolution.

The charges imposed against the group say they acted on the premise that Abiy is unpopular among Oromos and their mission was to pave a return for the OLF.

PM Abiy described the incident as a well a “well-orchestrated attack” after a grenade was thrown at the stage as he waved to a crowd of tens of thousands in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, two months after being sworn into office in April.

Abiy Ahmed is Ethiopia’s first Oromo prime minister and he’s implementing a range of sweeping reforms during his brief time in office. Despite some resistance, his early policies have been largely popular but ethnic tensions are resurfacing as he creates a less authoritarian government.

Tensions are particularly high in and around the capital where the Oromiya region borders with Addis Ababa. PM Abiy’s early successes coincide with a rise in ethnic violence and attacks against minorities, which could prove to be his biggest challenge as Ethiopia’s leader.

Featured image: By Rjruiziii – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24965504

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.