November 12, 2018 / 2:45 PM / 2 years ago

Ethiopia says security agents attacked PM's rally, orders arrests

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks during a media conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, October 29, 2018. Michel Euler/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Ethiopia’s attorney general accused members of the security service of carrying out a grenade attack on a rally attended by the prime minister, as he announced details of a string of investigations that struck at the heart of the establishment.

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 on Monday.

Under other investigations, Berhanu added, arrest warrants have been issued for 36 security agents accused of rights abuses and corruption, and for more than 30 officials from a military-run firm, where he said inquiries had 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 has pushed through a series of jolting 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’s procurement procedures and its contract for the Grand Renaissance Dam, the centrepiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

Writing by Maggie Fick and George Obulutsa,; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Ed Osmond

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