June 28, 2019
- Critics of the Ethiopian government say the government is exploiting the alleged coup d’état to silence growing opposition
- National Movement of Amhara (NMA) says its members are being arrested
Alleged killer of Ethiopian Chief of Staff of the Defense Force, Private Mesafint Tigabu
By Borkena News
ADDIS ABABA – So far over 250 people have been arrested in Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar since the “coup d’état” attempt, which happened in the evening of January 22, 2019, state broadcaster – Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Thursday.
All the arrests are made in connection with the incident which resulted in the assassination of three senior regional state officials and Ethiopian National Defense Force Chief of Staff, Seare Mekonnen, who was killed in the capital Addis Ababa. Ethiopian government linked the assassination of the chief of staff with the alleged coup attempt.
Ethiopian government said on Thursday that 212 suspected were captured with their firearms including machinegun.
Before the statement from the Federal Government, Amhara region police commissioner, Abere Adamu, told Amhara Mass Media Agency on Wednesday that 178 of the arrests were armed Special Forces of the region. Head of the region’s special force, Brigadier General Tefera, is also in custody while the government is carrying out an investigation, the regional police commissioner claimed.
Security and Justice Task Force,which draws its members from the Defense Force, The Federal Attorney-General, National Information, and Security Services and the Federal Police Commission – disclosed on Thursday that there were plans to assassinate other senior government officials.
The government has also announced the identity of the alleged killer of Seare Mekonnen and released his picture. According to the government, the killer is identified as Private Mesafint Tigabu.
The statement from the Task Force also says that “it is verified that the attempted coup d’état in Bahir Dar was organized by Brigadier General Asaminew Tsige and his collaborators,” as reported by DW Amharic.
A considerable number of Ethiopians reject the narrative by the government. In Lalibela, where the alleged ringleader of the coup is laid to rest, residents openly defy government narrative.
National Movement of Amhara disclosed on Thursday that over 100 members and non-members Amhara are arrested in connection with “attempted coup d’état,” as reported by Deutsche Welle Amharic Service. The number of arrested members is 56, claims the party. NaMA is an ethnic Amhara opposition party with a presence in Amhara region and outside of it as well. It was established about a year ago.
Apart from NaMA members, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmeds’ government has arrested over 50 members of Baladera council, an advocacy group led by prominent journalist Eskinder Nega who was released from prison about a year ago when Abiy Ahmed released all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. The movement formed against an apparent move by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed administration to make Addis Ababa, a city for ethnic Oromos under the Oromo regional state administration.
In a related development, Reuters reported on Thursday that “Men in camouflage uniforms killed more than 50 people and injured 23 others in the Metakal zone of the Benishangul-Gumuz region early on Monday, the region’s peace and security bureau head Abera Bayeta told Reuters.”
Benishangul Gumuz region is reportedly “investigating” the incident but inclines to the view that the attack is related to “cop in Amhara region.”