Ethiopia: Regional Coup Ringleader Not Dead

Regional Coup Ringleader Not Dead

In a statement read on social media on Monday evening, Ethiopia's federal police said the bodyguard of coup ringleader, Brigadier General Asaminew Tsige, who has not been named, was instead being treated for gunshot wounds in hospital.

Ethipia's Federal police have apologizsed for saying that the bodyguard who is accused of assassinating the head of the army, General Seare Mekonnen, on Saturday had killed itself.

The prime minister's oce has said the bodyguard killed General Seare and another general, Gezai Abera, at the army chief's home on Saturday as part of an attempt to overthrow the regional government in Ahmara state.

This is now the second time the story of what happened to the bodyguard has changed.

Initially on Saturday, the government said that he had been arrested. Then on Monday, police chief Endeshaw Tasew announced that he had killed himself after killing the generals.
It is not clear whether the bodyguard's wounds that he is being treated for were self-inicted or whether he was shot by someone else.

The suspected ringleader of Saturday's failed coup attempt in the country's Ahmara region is suspected of killing Ethiopia's army chief General Seare Mekonnen while trying to foil the coup.

General Seare and Amhara governor, Ambachew Mekonnen, who was also killed on Saturday, were seen as close allies of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The suspected coup ringleader, Brigadier-General Asaminew was Ahmara's regional security chief, and was said to have a signicant following among young people. The general had been in custody for nine years for allegedly plotting a coup.

Flags were own at half-mast on Monday after the government declared a day of mourning to mark the deaths of loyalists.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has urged Ethiopians to unite against evil forces set on dividing the country. A heavy contingent of pro-government forces has been deloyed in Ahmara's capital, Bahir Dar, and the federal capital, Addis Ababa.

The internet has been shut across the country, days after services resumed following an unexplained blackout of more than a week.

Ethnic violence has hit Amhara and other parts of Ethiopia in recent years.

Africa's oldest independent country, Ethiopia is also the continent's second most populous after Nigeria, with 1O2.5 million inhabitants from more than 80 dierent ethnic groups.

A transfer hub for long-hour air travel, it has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but a vast number of young Ethiopians are jobless.
Since his election last year, Mr Abiy has transformed Ethiopia. He has moved to end political repression by releasing political prisoners, removing bans on opposition political parties , overseeing the prosecution of ocials accused of human rights abuses and has restored diplomatic relations with Ethiopia's long-time enemy, Eritrea.
But his reforms has taken on powerful interest groups in the military and the ruling coalition. Mr Abiy survived a grenade attack at a rally a year ago, which killed two people and left more than 100 injured.

It is clear there is still signicant opposition within the military to the prime minister's style of leadership. The killing of Ahmara's governor Ambachew Mekonnen, is also a big blow for Mr Abiy, who is credited with installing him in office. He was a key ally in Ahmara, which is itself facing security problems and clamour from some groups for greater autonomy from the central government. The rst general election since Mr Abiy came to power is supposed to be held next year, but it is very hard to see how this will go ahead in a country that is highly polarised.

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