Zimbabwe’s government has released a statement calling Saturday’s explosion an assassination attempt on President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was holding a campaign rally at a stadium.
The President escaped injuries, but others were injured and hospitalized. A security officer had to have a leg amputated, presidential spokesman George Charamba said. The blast occurred at White City Stadium in Bulawayo.
Forty-nine people were injured, Charamba said.
“This incident doesn’t stand in the way of (the) electoral program,” he said. “It doesn’t undermine the security of the country, but we are jolted. We are not used to this kind of violence.” A “complex investigation” is underway, he added.
“The President’s response has been: We answer with love. We must not speculate ahead of investigations,” Charamba said.
The country’s two vice presidents were among the injured, the state-run newspaper The Herald reported. Kembo Mohadi suffered leg injuries, and Constantino Chiwenga had slight facial bruises, state media said.
Chiwenga’s wife was also hospitalized, but she has been treated and released.
Other injured officials include Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, minister of water, environment and climate, and Engelbert Rugeje, party secretary of the ruling ZANU-PF.
Mohadi remained hospitalized early Sunday, as did Muchinguri.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. said three of its crew members were hurt and taken to Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Harare condemned the attack saying “Political violence in any form is unacceptable & contrary (to the) positive progress required (to) move Zim forward as it seeks (to) take its place on the global stage,” the embassy said on Twitter. “Our thoughts & prayers go out (to the) victims & their families.”