By UK Bureau
TWO people were confirmed dead Monday from injuries sustained in the explosion which rocked a rally addressed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Bulawayo Saturday.
The first fatalities from the still unexplained blast were confirmed by authorities at Mpilo Central Hospital in the country’s second largest city.
Health and child care minister David Parirenyatwa said one of the victims died Sunday night while the second one succumbed to their injuries at Midday Monday.
“We had 16 victims that were admitted at Mpilo Central Hospital and that three of them were critical, of the three, one had exposed bowels and right leg blown off. We lost him last (Sunday) evening around 9pm.
“(On Monday) around 12 noon we lost another one with abdominal penetration injuries,” said Parirenyatwa.
Although the identities of the deceased have not yet been revealed, NewZimbabwe.com is reliably informed that both were VIP security aides.
A third victim is battling for their life in intensive care, said the health minister.
“We have a third one who is still critical and in the Intensive Care Unit. He sustained head injuries and is being attended to by neurosurgeons. They are trying their best to attend to him and we remain optimistic that he will recover.”
The explosion occurred just after Mnangagwa finished addressing the rally and as he was making his way off the VIP stage.
The Zanu PF leader escaped unscathed, but some 49 people were injured including vice presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi.
Also injured was Chiwenga’s wife Mary, cabinet minister and Zanu PF national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kasihiri.
“People suffered serious life-threatening injuries. Some are undergoing surgery as we speak,” Solwayo Ngwenya, clinical director at Mpilo hospital, told AFP.
Mnangagwa believes he was the target of the blast, adding it was the latest in a series of assassination attempts by enemies he has not identified.
Nothing has been revealed about the nature of the device which exploded with police appealing for information to assist ongoing investigations.
The government has insisted that elections will go ahead as scheduled on July 30 and offered State protection to presidential candidates concerned their security in the wake of the incident.
The African Union as well as countries such as South Africa, Britain and the United States have since condemned the attack.