Insiders Insight: Top officials killed in Ethiopia failed coup attempt
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Table of contents:
- The follow-up
- A possible plan in Sudan
- What everyone is talking about
- Ethiopia: Top officials killed in failed coup attempt
- What we are talking about
- Burundi’s silent authoritarianism
- Continental Health Corner
- A food aid disaster
- State of the earth
- Shortage of alternatives threatens Tanzania’s plastic ban
- Tweet of the week
- African migrants are the ‘new face’ of U.S. border crisis
- What else?
- If you have time, read these!
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Free segment: What everyone is talking about
Ethiopia: Top officials killed in failed coup attempt
The essentials: Four top officials have been killed in a failed attempt to take over power in the country’s Amhara region. Amhara state President Ambachew Mekonnen was shot dead along with his adviser Ezez Wassie and state Attorney General Migbara Kebede on Saturday night in Bahir Dar, the state capital. In a similar attack on the same night, army Chief of Staff Seare Mekonen was killed by his bodyguard in his Addis Ababa residence. A retired general, Gezai Abera, was also killed in the chief of staff’s residence. Ethiopian authorities have confirmed that the attacks are linked.
The context: The attacks have been blamed on Amhara state security head General Asamnew Tsige who tried to seize power, according to a release from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Tsige went into hiding after the attacks but was killed in a gun battle with federal troops on Monday. State President Mekonnen was holding a meeting on how to stop the general’s recruitment of Amhara militias when he was killed. Asamnew had urged Amharas to take up arms and fight other ethnic groups, according to agency reports.
There were additional injuries and fatalities, Abiy revealed in a statement, although specifics remain undisclosed. Residents could not access the internet late Saturday evening. Most of the hit squad have been arrested, say security officials.
The coup attempt trails a wave of violence threatening the Horn of Africa country following Prime Minister Abiy’s extensive social and political reforms. Since he took power in 2018, there have been massive shake-ups in the military in an attempt to democratise the country. The prime minister has loosened the military’s grip on the country, freed political prisoners, ensured press freedom and worked on fostering a strong national identity.
But those moves have created enemies among regional strongmen. And the autonomous Amhara is a particular flashpoint for tensions and violence in the ethnically fractured country.
The good: Well, the coup failed. That will hopefully serve as a deterrent to other renegade groups.
The bad: Unfortunately, many paid the ultimate price for doing the work to propel the country into a democracy. The coup attempt, although unsuccessful, highlights how troubled Abiy’s Ethiopia is. Continued political violence will undermine his reforms in the country, no matter how endearing they have made him internationally.
The future: There are fears of revenge attacks by Tsige’s loyalists that will lead to a general state of insecurity. Ethiopians fear the country may be heading towards “a state of anarchy”. Abiy has promised to hold parliamentary elections next year, but there are worries that may be unsafe amidst the current political tension.
- Ethiopia’s army chief, top regional officials killed in northern coup attempt (Reuters)
- Ethiopia security forces kill alleged coup leader (Al Jazeera)
- Ethiopia hit by assassinations and ‘coup’ attempt (FT)
- Ethiopia’s coup attempt spells disaster for its democratic transition(QZ)
- Army chief and regional president killed in coup attempt in Ethiopia(RT)
- Army chief shot dead in coup attempt in Ethiopia (France 24)
- Ethiopian army chief killed by bodyguard and regional leader dead in coup attempt (The Guardian)
- Ethiopia: Army chief killed amid failed coup attempt (DW)
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The Africa Insiders’ Newsletter is a collaboration between AfricanArguments.org and @PeterDoerrie, with contributions from @_andrew_green, @shollytupe, and assistance from Stella Nantongo. Part of the subscription revenue is funding in-depth and freely accessible reporting and analysis on African Arguments.