Assassination attempts in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia
At least two people died and 49 others sustained injuries when an explosion struck a campaign rally Saturday in the Zimbabwean town of Bulawayo. The blast occurred soon after President Emmerson Mnangagwa delivered a speech: Video footage from the scene showed the explosion happening as he walked off a stage. Although the president emerged without injury, two of the country’s vice presidents were hurt.
The country’s presidential election on Saturday will be the first without former President Robert Mugabe on the ballot since the country’s independence. The two major contenders are Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change. Vice President Constantino Chiwenga called the attack an act of terrorism and said nothing would stop the election.
In a similar attack during a unity rally Saturday in Ethiopia, an explosion killed at least two people and injured more than 150 others. Witnesses said a man in the crowd attempted to throw a grenade at Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed before the explosive went off as people tried to restrain him. Authorities arrested more than 30 suspects, including the deputy head of the capital city’s police commission. State-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation reported that U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce Gilbert Kaplan said the United States would send FBI officials to assist in the investigation. —O.O.
Nigerian communal clashes kill dozens
Nigerian authorities on Sunday imposed a curfew on parts of central Plateau state after deadly clashes between Christian farmers and Muslim herders killed at least 86 people. Police spokesman Terna Tyopev in a statement said an attack Saturday in the Barkin Ladi local government area also left at least five other people injured and destroyed at least 50 houses. Some residents placed the death toll at more than 120 people.
Danladi Ciroma, regional chairman of a national cattle breeders association, condemned the attack but said it was a retaliatory move after perpetrators rustled hundreds of cattle from the region in recent weeks. Communal clashes between the herders and farmers have persisted across central Nigeria as changing climate conditions drive more herders across the country.
State Gov. Simon Bako Lalong imposed a dusk-till-dawn curfew in the region in response to the attack. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in a Twitter post called the attack “painful and regrettable” and said the government would find the culprits.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide said herdsmen have staged at least 106 attacks across central Nigeria in the first quarter of 2018, killing at least 1,061 people. —O.O.
China combats sex-selective abortion
The Chinese province of Jiangxi set up new measures to reduce sex-selective abortions. The guidelines, released by the province’s health and family planning commission, require mothers seeking an abortion after 14 weeks to obtain approval from at least three medical practitioners confirming the procedure is medically necessary. For nonmedical cases, the measures require women to show their birth control certificates. The measures only apply to women at least 14 weeks pregnant, which is when many parents find out the sex of their baby by ultrasound. China is currently trying to recover from its now-scrapped one-child policy, which has helped drive a cultural preference for male children. —O.O.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte sparked outrage in his predominantly Catholic nation for lambasting God and Christianity during a televised speech last Friday. In the speech, Duterte mocked the Christian theology of original sin and the Genesis account of Adam and Eve’s creation and fall. “Who is this stupid God?” he asked. “What kind of religion is that? I can’t accept it.” Catholic Bishop Arturo Bastes called Duterte a “madman” and asked Filipinos to pray for an end to his “blasphemous utterances and dictatorial tendencies.” —Daniel James Devine