* Suspects arrested, says government
*National election to be held on May 23By Barry Malone ADDIS ABABA, May 9 (Reuters) –
The Ethiopian government said on Sunday a policeman had been stabbed to death, an attack it blamed on the opposition ahead of a national election this month. Ethiopia’s last election in 2005 ended with street riots and the jailing of politicians after both the ruling party and the opposition claimed victory. The government said the 2005 violence had been planned to force an unconstitutional change. Security forces killed 193 people and seven policemen also died.
“I can confirm that a policeman was stabbed to death,” government head of information, Bereket Simon, told Reuters. The attack happened on Friday night in Oromia, home to Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, the Oromo, who number 27 million out of 80 million people. State television named the dead policeman as Hassan Regasa. Bereket said a group of men had been arrested and that they were members of the country’s biggest opposition coalition, Medrek. “They have admitted their guilt to the police and they have admitted that they are card-carrying members of Medrek,” Bereket said. Medrek spokesmen were not immediately available to comment. The government said on Saturday that a grenade was thrown into a meeting of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation (OPDO), killing two people and injuring 14. The OPDO is part of the country’s ruling coalition.[ID:nLDE64706C] On Monday, the ruling party accused opposition members of killing one of its candidates. The opposition says one of its candidates was killed by ruling party supporters in March and that an activist was murdered in April. The ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Democratic Front (EPRDF) is expected to win the May 23 poll comfortably. The opposition says this is because their candidates are harassed. The government says the opposition is trying to discredit the poll. (Editing by George Obulutsa and Myra MacDonald)