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Coup attempt in Ethiopia: Army chief shot dead by his own bodyguard

The revolt was crushed, according to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Dramatic Hours in Ethiopia: In a coup attempt in the East African country on Saturday the Chief of General Staff and the Regional President of Amhara were murdered. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appeared in front of the TV cameras in uniform yesterday, explaining that the revolt could be crushed. “The coup attempt in Amhara threatens to destroy the hard-won peace.”

In Bahir Dar, the capital of the northern region of Amhara, gunmen stormed a meeting of senior regional politicians on Saturday. Regional President Ambachew Mekonnen and another senior regional representative were killed. In addition, several high-ranking regional representatives were sometimes severely injured, including the chief prosecutor of Amhara.

According to the central government, the head of the security forces of the administrative region, Asaminew Tsige, is responsible for the attack. Some of his followers were arrested but Asaminew was able to escape.

“Coordinated Attacks”

Shortly thereafter, there was a second attack in the capital of Addis Ababa, some 600 kilometers away, where Chief of Staff Seare Mekonnen was shot dead by his bodyguard. In addition, a retired general who was visiting recently was killed.

A central government spokesman in Addis Ababa said both incidents are directly related and have been “coordinated attacks”.

Ethiopia had long been ruled with an iron fist. Since Abiy came to power in April 2018, the 42-year-old has made many reforms and after decades, made peace with long-time rival Eritrea. However, he was not able to pacify many other conflicts in the multi-ethnic state with around 105 million inhabitants.

Support of the population

However, Abiy Ahmed’s reforms are finding great popular support. He ruled much less authoritarian than about his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegn Bosche, who had to resign after nationwide protests in February 2018.

Abiy, who belongs to the largest ethnic group of the Omoro, has released hundreds of political prisoners since taking office.