Latest update: Amhara region Attorney General the latest victim in wave of assassinations targeting Ethiopian high level officials; alleged coup ringleader killed by state security

Mahlet Fasil  

Addis Abeba, June 24/2019 – Migbaru Kebede, the Attorney General of Amhara regional state, died of his injuries while receiving medical treatment, the state television said. Migbaru became the latest victim in a wave of political assassinations that saw the shooting to death of General Seare Mekonnen, Chief of staff of the National defense force of Ethiopia, Ambachew Mekonnen (PhD), President of Amhara regional state, and Azeze Wasse, the regional administration’s public organization advisor. Also killed along with General Seare is Major General Gezai Abera, a retired general. Migrabru was pronounced dead today after having been admitted to a hospital on Saturday.

Azeze Wassie, the regional administration’s public organization advisor

Army chief General Seare and Maj-Gen Geazi were both shot and killed by the bodyguard of the former, the government said. They were killed at his residence in Addis Abeba on Saturday June 22.

Earlier on the same day, Ambachew Mekonnen (PhD), President of Amhara regional state, and Azeze Wasse, the regional administration’s public organization advisor, were both shot during a security meeting at the office of the president, according to the government. Dr. Ambachew died in hospital from his injuries.  

Amhara People Democratic Party (ADP), the party governing the region, and federal authorities have said in statements that the killing of the president and his advisor happened in “a failed coup” attempt orchestrated by General Asaminew Tsige, a former prisoner who was appointed as the Amhara regional state’s peace and security chief up on his release from prison last year.

PM Abiy Ahmed, who appeared late Saturday night on the national television wearing military fatigue, said that General Seare was a victim of a similar attack with that of the president of Amhara region, and was coordinated by “mercenaries.” While condemning the attacks, PM Abiy vowed to restore peace and security without any breakup of “command and control.” PM Abiy also said many of the participants in the “failed coup which lasted for just one hour” were apprehended and searches for those at large were ongoing.

According to Negussu Tilahun, Press Secretariat head at the office of PM Abiy, the killing of General Seare and Major General Geazi took place “in a span of few hours” after the killing of Dr. Ambachew and his advisor Azeze Wasse. Negussu also said the killing of General Seare and Maj-Gen Gezai in Addis Abeba was orchestrated by the same group who organized the “failed coup” in Bahir Dar which was allegedly led by General Asaminew.

Just in

In a just released statement the state television announced that General Asaminew has been killed by state security forces in Zenzelma area, near Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara regional state. The state television did not provide further details on the security operations that led to the killing of Gen. Asaminew.

The federal police commission commissioner general, Endeshaw Tasew, said today that General Seare’s bodyguard, who is suspected of killing both, has committed suicide. According to him, after killing the two generals, the suspected bodyguard escaped a shooting by his colleagues and locked himself up in a room where he committed suicide. However, the commissioner’s account contradicts a statement released yesterday by the office of PM Abiy which stated that the suspected bodyguard has “been arrested” as was the case with many of the coup plotters. It is not clear if the suspected bodyguard was injured when he was taken to police custody.

Commissioner general Endeshaw also blamed General Asaminew Tsige for the killings and said it was a “confirmed coup attempt” led by Gen. Asaminew.

In a related development, in statements released earlier today, the European Union and the US have both condemned the killings in Addis Abeba and Bahir Dar. The EU called it “deplorable” while the US said it was “senseless.”

“In these difficult circumstances, the EU calls for restraint from all sides of the Ethiopian political spectrum, both at national and regional levels,” reads the statement from the EU. “The EU firmly reiterates the need for continued peaceful and democratic reforms in Ethiopia and its support to the efforts of the Prime Minister and his government in this context.”

“The attacks on these men were also an attack on the institutions and nation they served.  The United States remains steadfast in its support for Ethiopia, as it pursues political and economic reforms that represent the surest path to Ethiopia’s prosperity, political inclusiveness, and stability,” the statement from the US government said. Both the EU and the US have reaffirmed their supports to the administration of PM Abiy Ahmed. AS

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