UAE condemns attack on Zimbabwe president's rally

Adjust Comment Print

An explosion has rocked a stadium where Zimbabwe's president was addressing a campaign rally, with state media calling it an assassination attempt but saying the president was not hurt.

Dramatic footage showed a smiling President Emmerson Mnangagwa walking off the stage and into a crowded tent where the blast occurred seconds later, sending up smoke as people screamed and ran for cover. "He is at state house in Bulawayo", said Mnangagwa's spokesman George Charamba.

This follows an explosion on the stage at White City Stadium just as the rally ended. He said the injured were being treated at Mpilo Central, United Bulawayo (UBH), and Mater Dei hospitals.

Mnangagwa said last August, then the vice president, that he had been poisoned at a rally outside Bulawayo and spent weeks receiving medical treatment in neighbouring South Africa.

"We have 25 people at Mpilo, 12 at Mater Dei and four at UBH, giving us a total of 41 who have so far approached our health institutions complaining of injuries".

Mnangagwa, 75, said the device "exploded a few inches away from me".

It was not clear who was responsible for the explosion, which Mnangagwa called a cowardly act, or how the security around the president was breached.

However three were seriously injured.

One of the wounded that Mnangagwa visited was the wife of a former army general, Constantino Chiwenga, who was instrumental in November's coup. He added: "I can assure you these are my normal enemies".

MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa said on Twitter: "Our prayers go out to the injured and we hope no lives have been lost".

A police hunt for possible perpetrators is under way and the country's highways, which had been free of roadblocks for months, are again littered with security checkpoints from one town to another.

"The President's response has been: We answer with love".

Zimbabwe police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said "comprehensive investigations are in progress" into the blast. We are aware of your role of informing the public with regards to this case and certainly updates will be provided without affecting the status of the investigations.