Ethiopian security forces intervene on Meskel Square in Addis Ababa on Saturday where a blast killed several people during a rally called by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
2 African leaders escape harm in separate blasts
01:41 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Dozens were injured, and at least one person killed, in an explosion Saturday at a rally in Addis Ababa attended by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, officials said.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed attends a conference this week.

In footage from state TV, bodyguards rush Ahmed unharmed off the stage where he had been sitting after the blast.

Eight people are in critical condition, Health Minister Amir Aman said on Twitter.

Six suspects were arrested, according to state broadcaster ETV, which carried a statement from the Federal Police Commission.

Nine members of law enforcement, including the deputy police commissioner of Addis Ababa, were arrested for alleged dereliction of duty in connection with the blast, police said.

Aman said that 156 people needed medical attention and that 51 of them remain hospitalized.

“Thank you all those who volunteered to donate blood for victims of the incidence,” Aman wrote on Twitter. “Currently there is no shortage of blood. Please keep up the good work. That’s what defines being Ethiopian.”

Solomon Ali of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society said it was difficult to move the wounded from the blast site because thousands of people were at the rally.

The explosion occurred after Ahmed had finished giving a speech before thousands of supporters in the capital’s Meskel Square.

It’s too early to know if the deadly blast was an assassination attempt on the new Prime Minister, the minister of government communications said.