NEWS
23/06/2018 17:13 BST | Updated 23/06/2018 20:02 BST

Zimbabwe President Survives Apparent Bomb Attack At Campaign Rally

Emmerson Mnangagwa was not injured in the blast.

ZINYANGE AUNTONY via Getty Images
President Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses the crowd before the explosion.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has survived an apparent bomb attack during an election campaign rally in the city of Bulawayo. 

He was not injured in the explosion, which happened as he was leaving the stage having addressed supporters.

He said an object “exploded a few inches away from me - but it is not my time”.

Videos posted online show Mnangagwa raising his fists to the sky in front of the crowd before turning to step off the stage and walk towards an open-sided VIP tent, where seconds later the blast occurred. 

People can be seen being knocked to the ground while others run away. 

Zimbabwe state TV has reported that Vice-President Kembo Mohadi has suffered a leg injury.

Several security personnel were also hurt, the state-owned Herald newspaper said.

State television ZBC said 42 people were injured in the explosion, six of them seriously.

In a statement released on Twitter, the president said: “This afternoon, as we were leaving a wonderful rally in Bulawayo, there was an explosion on the stage. Several people were affected by the blast, and I have already been to visit them in the hospital.

“While we await further information, my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this senseless act of violence. The campaign has been conducted in a free and peaceful environment, and we will not allow this cowardly act to get in our way as we move towards elections.”

He added that the “strongest response to violence is peace”. 

George Charamba, the president’s spokesman, told the Herald: “Investigations are under way and more details will be given to the public. There have been multiple attempts on the president’s life over the past five years.”

Charamba told Reuters: “We are still to get information on what exactly happened as we understand that some people could have been injured as this happened in the VIP tent.”

The president was in Bulawayo, which is Zimbabwe’s second city, to campaign for his Zanu-PF party ahead of the nationwide elections on 30 July, which are the first in the country since Robert Mugabe was ousted after 37 years in power.