What we know about the 'coup' bid in regional gov’t in Ethiopia?


ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia's government said Saturday that an attempted coup had taken place in regional Amhara state, one of nine autonomous regions in the country.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office did not give details on who was believed responsible for the attack, the latest blow to his efforts to stabilize and reform the Horn of Africa nation.

"The coup attempt in Amhara regional state is against the constitution and is intended to scupper the hard-won peace of the region," it said in a statement.

"This illegal attempt should be condemned by all Ethiopians and the federal government has full capacity to overpower this armed group."

No details were given of the targets of the attack in the second-most populous state in the country, headed by regional president Ambachew Mekonen.

A journalist in the regional capital Bahir Dar told AFP shooting had begun shortly after sunset and continued for several hours before calming.

Since coming to power in April 2018 after two years of anti-government unrest, Abiy has been hailed for his efforts to end the iron-fisted rule of his predecessors.

He has embarked on economic reforms, allowed dissident groups back into the country, and sought to crack down on rights abuses and improve freedom of the press.

But he has battled a surge in tensions between ethnic groups in the diverse country -- usually over land and resources -- leading to deadly violence in the country of over 100 million people.

Who is behind the coup?

The Amhara Democratic Party (ADP) later issued a statement saying former military general and Amhara’s security head, Asaminew Tsige is behind the attempted coup.

Asaminew was welcomed to the central committee of ADP on October 2018, after he was released from prison as part of the release of political prisoners by Abiy Ahmed’s administration and he was made to retire with all benefits, his titles reinstated.

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