Home News Army chief and regional president killed in coup attempt in Ethiopia

Army chief and regional president killed in coup attempt in Ethiopia

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The newly elected Confederation of African Football President Ahmad Ahmad addresses a news conference after his victory at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

A coup attempt in Ethiopia has been foiled by government forces, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a TV address on Sunday. The army’s chief of staff and the head of Ethiopia’s Amhara state were killed along with several others.
The uprising took place in Bahir Dar, Amhara state, a region just outside the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. The head of Amhara state, Ambachew Mekonen, was attacked along with his adviser in their offices on Saturday, state media reported.

In his address, Prime Minister Abiy said the chief of staff of the country’s army had been sent to Amhara to deal with the situation, but was shot by his own people as he attempted to defeat the coup. Abiy said there were additional fatalities and injuries, but did not specify the numbers.

“While he was coordinating and leading [the] response to the coup with a strong sense of mission, people in his close entourage… bought by hired elements, have attacked the beloved and respected Chief of General Staff [Seare Mekonen],” he said.

A spokesman for the Ethiopian prime minister said later on Sunday that Mekonen had been shot dead by his own bodyguard, AP reported.

The head of special forces in Amhara told state television on Sunday that “most of the people who attempted the coup have been arrested, although there are a few still at large.” Residents of Bahir Dar told the media that gunfire could be heard in some neighborhoods late on Saturday, while some roads had been closed off.