Some Ethiopian coup plotters arrested, but mastermind is still on the run
Security forces are hunting down the man behind Saturday’s assassinations and attempt to seize control of the northern Amhara state
Addis Ababa — The man accused of trying to seize control of Ethiopia’s northern Amhara region was on the run with some of his supporters on Monday but a number of other plotters have been arrested, a senior government official said.
The government has said Gen Asamnew Tsige masterminded gun attacks that killed four people, including the national army’s chief of staff and Amhara’s state president on Saturday night.
“The main people behind the failed coup are still at large and the security forces are hunting them,” the prime minister’s press secretary, Negussu Tilahun, said.
Army chief of staff Seare Mekonnen and a retired officer were shot by Seare’s bodyguard at his residence in the national capital Addis Ababa, the prime minister’s office said
Amhara state president Ambachew Mekonnen and an adviser were killed in the region’s main city Bahir Dar, it added.
Access to the internet appeared to be blocked across Ethiopia on Monday, users reported.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has pushed through sweeping changes since coming to power in April, making peace with Eritrea, reining in the security services, releasing political prisoners and lifting bans on some outlawed separatist groups.
The changes have won him widespread international praise.
But the premier’s shake-up of the military and intelligence services has earned him powerful enemies at home, while his government is struggling to contain powerful figures in Ethiopia’s myriad ethnic groups fighting the federal government and each other for greater influence and resources.
Long-simmering ethnic violence has surged in some areas since the reforms. At least 2.4-million people have fled fighting, according to the UN.
The prime minister’s spokesperson said the situation was calm in both Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar on Monday.
Ethiopia will observe a day of national mourning on Monday, parliament speaker Tagesse Chafo said on state television.