ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – An attempted coup by a rogue general in one The government announced on Sunday that four of Ethiopia's largest regional states had died, including the chief of staff of the National Army and the President of the region.
On Saturday night, armed men attacked an executive meeting of the Amhara regional state in Bahir Dar city, killing its president, Ambachev Mekonnen, and his top adviser. The regional Attorney General was seriously injured. Hours later, in the capital Addis, the bodyguard of the Army Chief of Staff, General Seare Mekonnen, opened fire on him and killed him and a co-worker.
Government spokeswoman Bilene Seyoum blamed the attack on a recently amnestied brigadier general who had been jailed for his political views of the previous government several years ago.
"The coup attempt and the attack were staged by Brig. General Asaminew Tsige, the peace and security chief of Amhara, with other agents, "she told journalists. "He and his colleagues received an amnesty from the new government last year to reintegrate them into their regular lives."
Most of the perpetrators, including Seare's bodyguard, were in custody, and the operations were in full swing until the remaining accomplices. The Amhara region is "100 percent under control".
Ethiopia, Africa's second largest country, is an important US ally in the fight against terror in the Horn of Africa and an important source of stability in the troubled region.
The country's policy has changed dramatically over the past year, when a new reformist PM arrived, releasing banned opposition politicians and guerrilla groups and thousands of political prisoners.
Asaminew had been imprisoned by the previous regime for his opposition to the government and his release and appointment as head of security was part of the larger reconciliation process.
However, the new freedoms have brought long simmering tensions to the surface and millions have been displaced by ethnic land conflicts across the country.
In 2018, Ethiopia, with around 3 million displaced people, had the most newcomers displaced in the world.
Even in the ethnic regions that make up the country, there was great political unrest as nationalist peoples pushed for greater regional autonomy over the central government.
As The news of the coup attempt in Bahir Dar and the assault on the Chief of Staff's House in the heart of the capital spread on Saturday night. There have been rumors and speculation about what's happening in social media. Within hours, all access to the Internet was blocked, and military and police controls emerged in the capital.
Abiy, the Prime Minister, appeared on television at midnight to seek peace in military clothing and to ensure security of land in which the situation was under control.
Since assuming power, Abiy has worked with long-time rival Eritrea and brokered peace agreements between troubled neighbors in the region.
Most recently, he worked in mediation between the military transition rulers in Sudan and the demonstrators.