Zimbabwes new president Emmerson Mnangagwa cheered as he returns to country
Emmerson Mnangagwa

A bomb attack in the city of Bulawayo on Saturday has left 15 injured, including Zimbabwe's Vice President Kembo Mohadi. The explosion occurred 'inches away' from President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as he was leaving the stage after addressing a rally in the city.

The rally, at White City Stadium, was ahead of the upcoming elections on July 30. President Mnangagwa was campaigning for the Zanu-PF party in Bulawayo, the second largest city in the country which also happens to be an opposition stronghold. 

As soon as the bomb went off, people started running in all directions as the President was rushed to his vehicle, and the motorcade left at a very high speed.

As per the BBC, the President has escaped unhurt, but Mohadi was left injured in the leg. As per official sources, the number injured is currently at 15 but is expected to rise. Mnangagwa, who visited the injured in the hospital, spoke to the local media, condemning the violence and pleaded for unity.

Mnangagwa came to power last November, ousting his former mentor Robert Mugabe, who ruled the country for 37 years. The upcoming elections are to be the first in Zimbabwe since Mugabe was ousted and hence of critical importance to the African nation.

Presidential spokesman George Charamba told the Zimbabwe Herald newspaper, "Vice-President Mohadi is nursing some leg injuries but he is in good spirit." 

Marry Chiwenga, the wife of Zimbabwe's First Vice President, Constantino Chiwenga, was also injured and pictures on social media showed the president visiting her in hospital. State broadcaster ZBC reported that Zanu PF national chairman Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, political commissar Engelbert Rugeje and a few ZBC crew members too were injured.

The US Embassy in Harare condemned the attack following which the Egyptian foreign ministry issued a statement along the same lines. So far no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

[With inputs from IANS]