Unrest in Ethiopia: Chief of army shot by “mercenaries”

Ethiopia’s Army Chief of Staff General Seare Mekonnen has been shot following the unrest in the Amhara region of the country.

Revealing the news on TV, dressed in military fatigues, the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the defence chief of staff has been attacked by “mercenaries” in the northern regional capital Bahir Dar, but the Prime Minister did not give any further details.

However, the government in Addis Abebe had earlier said there had been an “attempted coup” in Amhara. This incidence had been corroborated by residents in the capital of Amhara region Bahir Dar, who reported hearing heavy gunshots and unusual movements of army personnel and other security agents.

Apart from gunfire in the Amhara region, sources close to the US state department reported hearing gunfire in the national capital Addis Abebe. This report has not been confirmed by the Ethiopian authorities.

The internet connection has been down in the country, according to our sources

Since Prime Minister, Mr Ahmed was elected last year, he has initiated a series of reforms aimed at ending political repression in Ethiopia as well as addressing other social injustices in the country. He has made peace in Ethiopia, one of his top priorities, including seeking peace with Ethiopia’s arch-rival Eritrea. Equally, Mr Ahmed appointed women to many powerful positions in the country, an unusual move in a conservative country, Ethiopia. To create more political freedom in Ethiopia, the Prime Minister released many political prisoners and lifted bans on political parties. Mr Ahmed tried to address many years of human rights abuses, and prosecuted officials accused of rights abuses.

Despite being praised around the world for his bold steps, Mr Ahmed’s heroic acts have experienced ethnic power struggle and violence, especially in the northern region of the country, which the UN claims have displaced almost 2.4 million Ethiopians.

It is reported that the latest violence in Amhara region may have been orchestrated by a former security chief, whom the Prime Minister released from jail, as part of his attempt to address the poor human rights situation in Ethiopia, after he came to power. It is believed that the released former security chief planned to outset the head of the Amhara regional government, Ambachew Mekonnen in an apparent coup attempt.

Efforts are being made to arrest the coup plotters, including the accused former security chief of Amhara regional government, who is believed to have masterminded the attempted coup.