An organized coup attempt in the Amhara regional state led by a former military general and Amhara region security head, Asaminew Tsige, has failed, according to Niguse Tilahun, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister Office.
According to a statement issued by the Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), the coup attempt in Bahir Dar, the Amhara regional capital, was aimed at overthrowing the regional government.
Coup leader Gen. Asaminew was welcomed to the Central Committee of ADP in 2018 soon after he was released as part of the release of political prisoners by PM Abiy Ahmed, with the full benefit and his military title reinstated.
Security forces deployed by the federal government, however, managed to repel and control the situation, although the ensuing half an hour-long gunfight around the region’s police commission headquarter killed Dr. Ambachew Mekonen, president and Ezez Wassie, Advisor of the Amhara regional government, respectively. (updated on 23 June 2019)
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed condemned the action as ‘anti-constitutional’ and authorized the federal police to restore order and take action on the instigators.
“This illegal attempt should be condemned by all Ethiopians and the federal government has full capacity to overpower this armed group,” the government said in a statement.
The growing power struggle between the ruling coalition ADP and nationalist party NAMA threatened the security and stability of the Amhara region for a long time.
The sudden resignation of the region’s former president, Gedu Andargachew, in March was due to such internal power struggle.
Meanwhile, Chief of staff Gen. Seare Mekonnen was also assassinated by his own bodyguard inside his residence soon after he successfully foiled and arrest many of the coup conspirators in Bahir Dar.
Gen. Gezai Abera, a retired former head of logistics of the Ethiopian Defense Forces, who was at Gen. Seare’s residence during the attack, also killed.
The US embassy issued alerts about gunfire in the country’s capital, Addis Adaba, and violence around Bahir Dar.
Internet and media access has reportedly been limited across the country.