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Arrests after Ethiopia prime minister’s rally attack

Arrests after disrupted Prime Minister rally in EthiopiaThe Ethiopian attorney general accused security service members of carrying out a grenade attack on a rally attended by the prime minister, as he announced details of a string of investigations.

Members of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) were involved in the blast that killed two people in June soon after newly-elected reformist prime minister Abiy Ahmed left the stage, attorney general Berhanu Tsegaye told reporters.

Other investigations, Berhanu added, had seen arrest warrants issued for 36 security agents accused of rights abuses and corruption and for more than 30 officials from a military-run firm, where inquiries uncovered mismanagement.

Reuters could not immediately contact the security service or the industrial conglomerate named by the attorney general - Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC).

Abiy pushed through a series of reforms since coming to power in April, including a peace deal with neighbouring Eritrea, a pledge to open up state-dominated sectors to private investors and promises to rein in the security services.

“For six years METEC made international procurements totalling $2 billion without any bidding processes,” Berhanu said, without naming the international firms involved.

The attorney general said the investigation involved METEC procurement procedures and its contract for the Grand Renaissance Dam, the centrepiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.