Pajhwok Services

SMS News Service

Photo Service

Election Coverage

Special Mining Page

Afghan Peace Process Special Page

Addvertise With Pajhwok

Daily Newsletter

Language
Sending Time (GMT / Kabul time)

Suggest a Story

Pajhwok is interested in your story suggestions. Please tell us your thoughts by clicking here.

Ethiopia unrest leaves army chief, regional president dead

Ethiopia unrest leaves army chief, regional president dead

By
On
Jun 24, 2019 - 15:10

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Ethiopia's army chief was shot dead by his bodyguard just hours after an attempted coup in Amhara state left the regional president and another top adviser dead, a spokeswoman for the prime minister said on Sunday.

The spokeswoman Billene Seyoum told journalists a “hit squad” led by Amhara's security chief Asaminew Tsige burst into a meeting on Saturday afternoon, injuring regional president Ambachew Mekonnen and another top official who both died of their wounds.

Later that evening in what appeared a “co-ordinated attack”, army chief Seare Mekonnen, and a retired general who was visiting him, were killed by his bodyguard, said Billene.

The bodyguard has been apprehended while Asaminew is still on the loose, sources said. Analysts said the incident showed the seriousness of the political crisis in Ethiopia, where efforts by Abiy to loosen the iron-fisted grip of his predecessors and push through reforms has unleashed a wave of unrest.

Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that the army chief was shot while trying to thwart an attempted coup on Saturday in a federal state north of the capital Addis Ababa.

Speaking on state television, Abiy said General Seare Mekonnen was one of several casualties. “He was shot by people who are close to him,” Abiy said.

The prime minister said the general had been trying to prevent plotters carrying out a coup in Amhara state, one of Ethiopia's nine federal states.

“These tragic incidents unfortunately demonstrate the depth of Ethiopia's political crisis,” said International Crisis Group analyst William Davison.

“It is now critical that actors across the country do not worsen the instability by reacting violently or trying to exploit this unfolding situation for their own political ends,” the expert said.

Since coming to power last year, Abiy has tried to spearhead political reforms, to open up the once isolated, security-obsessed country of 100 million people on the Horn of Africa.

Abiy has released political prisoners, removed bans on political parties and prosecuted officials accused of gross human rights abuses, but his government is battling mounting violence.

Ethnic bloodshed — long held in check by the state's iron grip — has flared up in many areas, including Amhara, where the regional government was led by Ambachew Mekonnen.

The US Embassy said on Saturday that it was aware of reports of gunfire in Addis Ababa, though Reuters could not confirm those reports. “Chief of Mission personnel are advised to shelter in place,” the Embassy said on its website.

Later on Sunday, Brigadier General Tefera Mamo, the head of special forces in Amhara, told state television that “most of the people who attempted the coup have been arrested, although there are a few still at large.”

Residents in Amhara's capital Bahir Dar said late on Saturday there was gunfire in some neighbourhoods and some roads had been closed off.

Ethiopia is due to hold a national parliamentary election next year. Several opposition groups have called for the polls to be held on time despite the unrest and displacement.

pk/ma

Tags: 

Related Article

Add new comment

Advertisement

Advertisement

Twitter Update