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Ethiopia’s Army Chief Shot Dead by His Own Bodyguard Hours After Coup Attempt

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Ethiopia’s army chief was shot dead by his bodyguard just hours after an attempted coup in Amhara state left the regional president and another top adviser dead, a spokeswoman for the prime minister said Sunday.

The spokeswoman Billene Seyoum told journalists a “hit squad” led by Amhara’s security chief Asaminew Tsige burst into a meeting on Saturday afternoon, injuring regional president Ambachew Mekonnen and another top official who both died of their wounds.

Later that evening in what appeared a “co-ordinated attack”, army chief Seare Mekonnen, and a retired general who was visiting him, were killed by his bodyguard, said Billene.

Since coming to power in April 2018 after two years of anti-government unrest, Abiy has been hailed for his efforts to end the iron-fisted rule of his predecessors.

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He has embarked on economic reforms, allowed dissident groups back into the country, and sought to crack down on rights abuses and improve freedom of the press.

But he has battled a surge in tensons between ethnic groups in the diverse country — usually over land and resources — leading to deadly violence in the country of over 100 million people.