Zim president survives bomb blast at Zanu-PF rally

BREAKING: Reports of attempt on Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s life

The blast occurred as Mr Mnangagwa finished addressing the crowd and was leaving the podium.

"We suspect it's an explosion, certainly it was close to the VVIP stage", said Mnangagwa's spokesman George Charamba. Several people are said to have been injured but the extent of the injuries has not yet been established.

Mr Mnangagwa took power in November after former ally Mr Mugabe stepped down under military pressure.

Other senior officials are also said to have been injured, as well as some of their bodyguards.

Mugabe had been Zimbabwe's only president since it gained independence in 1980, and elections that are expected to be held July 30 will be the first in which he is not a contender.

"I can confirm that there was an explosion at White City Stadium and that the President is safe".

Mnangagwa says that "we will not allow this cowardly act to get in our way as we move towards elections".

"Vice-President Mohadi is nursing some leg injuries but he is in good spirit", he said.

Nevertheless, Bulawayo - an opposition stronghold - remained calm last night with no evidence of reinforced security forces, local journalists said.

The intervention by the army was led by Chiwenga who was then head of the armed forces.

Unlike previous elections which were marred by violence, mostly against opposition members by ZANU-PF supporters, the run up to this year's vote has been relatively peaceful.

"President Mnangagwa has not been injured and is at Bulawayo State House".

The main competition will be between Mnangagwa and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change's leader, 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa.

The Zimbabwe Herald newspaper calls it an attempt on Mnangagwa's life.

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