Ethiopian police have shot dead a security chief suspected of orchestrating a deadly bid to overthrow the regional Amhara government. Police said Brigadier-General Asaminew Tsige was killed as he attempted to escape from his hideout in Amhara’s capital.
The “attempted coup” in the region left its president, top adviser and attorney general dead on Saturday. A few hours later in what the government said appeared to be a “co-ordinated attack”, the army chief Seare Mekonnen was killed by his bodyguard at his home in Addis Ababa. However details of links between the two attacks and their ultimate motive have not been made clear.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has urged Ethiopians to unite against “evil” forces set on dividing the country. Flags are flying at half-mast after the government declared a day of mourning to mark the deaths of loyalists.
A heavy contingent of pro-government forces has been deployed in Amhara’s capital, Bahir Dar, and the federal capital, Addis Ababa. The internet has been shut across the country, days after services resumed following an unexplained blackout of more than a week.
Asaminew was only last year released from almost a decade in prison over a 2009 coup plot, under a mass prisoner amnesty that began under former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and continued under his reformist successor Abiy.