Four Ethiopian officials were killed, including Ethiopia’s army chief of staff, in a failed coup attempt at two locations, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed confirmed Sunday.
On Saturday night in Addis Ababa, the African country’s capital, Seare Mekonnen and retired Major General Gezai Abera were killed at the chief of staff’s home by his bodyguard, according to a statement by the prime minister’s office. The unnamed bodyguard who is now in custody, the prime minister’s press office said.
Seare was coordinating a response to an attack earlier in the night in Amhara, located in northwestern part of Ethiopia and one of nine regional states in the country, when he was killed, the Prime Minister’s press secretary Billene Seyoum told CNN Sunday.
In Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara, the region’s President Ambachew Mekonnen and Amhara Regional Government Office Adviseor Ezez Wassie died from gunshots.
Also, Regional Attorney General Migbaru Kebede sustained heavy injuries and was undergoing medical treatment, the prime minister’s office said.
Amhara’s regional security chief, Brig. Gen. Asaminew Tsige, was accused by the prime minister’s office of plotting the coup attempt. It is unclear whether he has been arrested but many of those involved in the coup attempt are under arrest and operations are in progress to detain others, the PM’s press office said.
“The coup attempt in Amhara regional state is against the constitution and is intended to scupper the hard-won peace of the region,” the statement said. “This illegal attempt should be condemned by all Ethiopians and the federal government has full capacity to overpower this armed group.”
The situation in under full control of the federal government, according to the statement.
The failed coup was not “committed by any ethnic group but by ill-motivated individuals,” Abiy said wearing military fatigues during a televised news conference late Saturday.
He urged “all Ethiopians, both armed and not armed” to unite against “evil” forces attempting to divide the nationa.
“A similar attempt was committed last year in June but we successfully overcame it,” Abiy said in reference to a grenade attack at a rally he attended in 2018.
Abiy came to power in 2018 after the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, a tenure that included anti-government protests over economic and political exclusion.
He is the first Oromo, which is Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, to lead the country,
The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa issued a security alert, saying it is aware of police and military activity in Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar