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Head of Ethiopian army shot dead by bodyguard following failed coup attempt in regional state

Two officials were killed in the state of Amhara on Saturday.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announces a failed coup as he addresses the public on television
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announces a failed coup as he addresses the public on television
Image: AP/PA Images

THE HEAD OF Ethiopia’s army was shot dead by his bodyguard just hours after an attempted coup in Amhara state left the regional president and another top advisor dead.

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Billene Seyoum, told journalists that a “hit squad” led by Amhara’s security chief Asaminew Tsige shot regional president Ambachew Mekonnen and another top official dead during a meeting on Saturday.

The men were “gravely injured in the attack and later died of their wounds,” she said.

“Several hours later in what seems like a co-ordinated attack, the chief of the staff of the national security forces Seare Mekonnen was killed in his home by his bodyguard.”

Also shot dead was a retired general who had been visiting him, Billene added.

The bodyguard has been apprehended while Asaminew is still on the loose, sources said.

Analysts say the incident shows 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 been met with unrest.

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

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“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.

With reporting from - © AFP 2019.

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