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Zimbabwe president says hand grenade caused rally blast

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Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses a ruling ZANU-PF party rally in Bulawayo on June 23, 2018, as he campaigns for votes ahead of nationwide elections due on July 30. Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa survived a blast at a ruling ZANU-PF party rally his spokesman said, adding that he had been taken to safety after the incident. An AFP correspondent at the scene reported multiple injuries but could not immediately give a precise toll. / AFP PHOTO / ZINYANGE AUNTONY

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said a hand grenade was to blame for the election rally blast that killed two people last week, state media reported Friday.

Mnangagwa, 75, narrowly avoided the explosion, which came weeks before the election on July 30, the first poll since the ousting of long-time ruler Robert Mugabe.

“You might be aware about the events that took place Saturday when a hand grenade was thrown at me. But since you see me here that means I am now fine,” Mnangagwa who was in Tanzania on a two-day visit was quoted as saying by the Herald newspaper.

“That was a minor incident, we are going to proceed with elections,” he added.

The paper reported that Vice President Kembo Mohadi and Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who were injured in the blast, have been transferred to a hospital in South Africa. Their condition is described as stable.

Investigations are underway into the blast, but security agencies have declined to say if any arrests have been made.

Mnangagwa, who took power from Mugabe last November after a brief military take-over, has accused aggrieved supporters of Mugabe’s wife Grace of being behind the attack.

About 50 people were injured in the blast which occurred as Mnangagwa left the podium after addressing supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party in Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city.


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