Ethiopia’s army chief of staff and the head of the northern state of Amhara were killed in two separate but related attacks when a general tried to seize control of Amhara in an attempted coup, the prime minister’s office said on Sunday.
Amhara state president Ambachew Mekonnen and his adviser were shot dead and the state’s attorney general was wounded in the regional capital of Bahir Dar on Saturday evening, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said in a statement.
In a separate attack the same night, Ethiopia’s army Chief of Staff Seare Mekonnen and a retired general were both shot dead in Seare’s home in Addis Ababa by his bodyguard. The two attacks were linked, the statement said, without giving details.
Abiy’s office named Amhara state security head General Asamnew Tsige as responsible for the foiled coup, without giving details of his whereabouts. Asamnew was released from prison last year after receiving an amnesty for a similar coup attempt, according to media reports.
Abiy took office just over a year ago and embarked on unprecedented reforms in Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country and one of its fastest-growing economies.
But the premier’s shake-up of the military and intelligence services has earned him powerful enemies, while his government is struggling to rein in powerful figures in Ethiopia’s myriad ethnic groups fighting the federal government and each other for greater influence and resources.