Connect with us

East Africa News & Stories

Ethiopian army chief, regional president shot dead in Amhara coup attempt

Ethiopia’s army chief was shot dead by his bodyguard just hours after an attempted coup in Amhara state left the regional president dead

Published

on

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on June 22, 2019 that the army chief of staff had been shot, however his condition was unknown after an evening of unrest

Ethiopia’s army chief was shot dead by his bodyguard just hours after an attempted coup in Amhara state left the regional president and another top adviser dead, a spokeswoman for the prime minister said Sunday.

The spokeswoman Billene Seyoum told journalists a “hit squad” led by Amhara’s security chief Asaminew Tsige burst into a meeting on Saturday afternoon, injuring regional president Ambachew Mekonnen and another top official who both died of their wounds.

Later that evening in what appeared a “co-ordinated attack”, army chief Seare Mekonnen, and a retired general who was visiting him, were killed by his bodyguard, said Billene.

The coup attempt was orchestrated by Amhara’s top general, General Asamnew Tsige, the country’s media is reporting.

Ambachew Mekonnen and his adviser were attacked and killed in their offices on Saturday, reports said, adding that General Tsige, Amhara’s head of security, was the leader of the putsch. Amhara is one of nine regional states in Ethiopia.

Earlier, prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, announced Ethiopia’s army chief of staff had been shot as the government thwarted the attempted coup. Abiy took to national television in the early hours of the morning dressed in military fatigues to make the announcement about Seare Mekonnen.

The internet was cut in Ethiopia and more details were not immediately available.

The US embassy issued alerts about reported gunfire in the capital, Addis Ababa, and violence around Amhara’s main city, Bahir Dar.

“The embassy is aware of reports of gunfire in Addis Ababa. Chief of mission personnel are advised to shelter in place,” the embassy said in one of its two alerts.

Earlier, Abiy’s office announced that an attempted coup had taken place in Amhara, one of nine autonomous regions in the country. A statement from his office did not give details on who was believed responsible for the attack.

“The coup attempt in Amhara regional state is against the constitution and is intended to scupper the hard-won peace of the region,” said the 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 Ambachew Mekonen as regional president.

A journalist in the regional capital, Bahir Dar, told AFP shooting had begun shortly after sunset and continued for several hours. The coup attempt comes a year after a grenade explosion at a rally Abiy was addressing left two people dead.

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, sought to crack down on rights abuses and arrested dozens of top military and intelligence officials.

He also sealed a peace deal with neighbouring Eritrea. 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 nation of more than 100 million people.

More than a million people have been displaced by the ethnic clashes, which analysts attribute to multiple causes, such as the weakening of the once all-powerful ruling EPRDF and different groups trying to take advantage of opportunities presented by the political transition.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

East Africa News & Stories

Al Shabaab-linked car bombing kills at least 5 in Mogadishu

Monday’s attack was the latest in a long line of bombing and assaults claimed by Al Shabaab terrorist group

Published

on

Al Shabaab-linked car bombing kills at least 5 in Mogadishu
(File photo)

At least five people were killed and several wounded when a car bomb was detonated Monday outside a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu, a security officer and witnesses said.

The explosion near a checkpoint outside the Afrik Hotel reverberated throughout the city, and sent a massive plume of black smoke into the air.

Abdullahi Ahmed, a security officer who witnessed the blast, said at least five people were killed in the attack, which appeared to be targeting the hotel.

“I can confirm the death of five people: three civilians and two government security officers at the checkpoint,” he told reporters.

“The area was relatively dense with bystanders and some were killed and wounded in the blast, but we don’t have the exact number of casualties.”

Other witnesses describing being knocked to the ground by the force of the blast, which damaged nearby buildings.

“I was not very far away from where the blast occurred, and I could see several people lying (on the ground), some of them dead with a pool of blood,” said one, Abdikarim Mohamed.

“The blast was huge. It did damage to several nearby buildings.”

Suado Ali was walking out of a travel agency when the shockwave knocked her flat.

“I was forced to the ground by the shockwave. I saw nearly ten people lying on the ground, some motionless and others screaming for help”, he told reporters.

The attack comes just over a week after 26 people were killed and 56 injured in a 12-hour attack by Al-Shabaab jihadists on a popular hotel in the southern Somali port city of Kismayo.

A suicide bomber rammed a vehicle loaded with explosives into the Medina hotel on Friday before several heavily armed gunmen forced their way inside, shooting as they went.

The attack was the latest in a long line of bombing and assaults claimed by Shabaab, which has fought for more than a decade to topple the Somali government.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

East Africa News & Stories

The battle for women’s rights in ‘new’ Sudan is not yet over

We will no longer wait for our rights, we will fight to obtain them,” – Amani Osmane

Published

on

She may have spent 40 days in jail for demonstrating against President Omar al-Bashir who has since been toppled but activist Amani Osmane says the battle for women’s rights in Sudan is far from over.

Women have been at the forefront of the revolt which led to Bashir’s overthrow by the military on April 11 after three decades of iron-fisted rule.

Osmane, who is also a lawyer, was detained on the evening of January 12 and escorted to “the fridge”, a grim room where interrogations are paired with extreme cold.

“There are no windows, nothing, just air conditioning at full blast and the lights on 24/7,” she told AFP.

The fridge is part of a detention centre run by the all-powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in a building on the Blue Nile that runs through Khartoum.

Dozens of activists and political opponents of Bashir’s regime have passed through what NISS agents cynically refer to as “the hotel”.

Osmane, who spent 40 days behind bars after a frigid seven hours of questioning, said she was arrested “contrary to all laws… because I stand up for women in a country where they have no rights”.

Another activist, Salwa Mohamed, 21, took part each day in protests at a camp outside the army headquarters in central Khartoum that became the epicentre of the anti-Bashir revolt.

Her aim was “to have the voice of women heard” in a Muslim country where she “cannot go out alone, study abroad or dress the way I want”.

Student Alaa Salah emerged as a singing symbol of the protest movement after a picture of her in a white robe leading chanting crowds from atop a car went viral on social media.

Portraits of Salah — dubbed “Kandaka”, or Nubian queen, online — have sprouted on murals across Khartoum, paying tribute to the prominent role played by women in the revolt.

‘We will no longer wait’

The unrest which has gripped Sudan since bread riots in December that led to the anti-Bashir uprising left scores dead.

Doctors linked to the protest movement say that 246 people have been killed since the nationwide uprising erupted, including 127 people on June 3 when armed men raided the protest camp in Khartoum.

On Wednesday, protesters and the generals who took over from Bashir finally inked a deal that aims to install a civilian administration, a key demand of demonstrators since his fall three months ago.

The accord stipulates that a new transitional ruling body be established, comprised of six civilians and five military representatives.

A general will head the ruling body during the first 21 months of a transition, followed by a civilian for the remaining 18 months, according to the framework agreement.

“We will no longer wait for our rights, we will fight to obtain them,” said Osmane, stressing that women wanted 40 percent of seats in parliament.

Amira Altijani, a professor of English at the all-female Ahfad University in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city, said: “This movement is an opportunity for women to have their voice heard.”

For Osmane, Bashir “hijacked” sharia laws for three decades to oppress women.

“But a new Sudan is rising, with a civilian government that will allow equality,” she said.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

East Africa News & Stories

Political party delays creation of new state in Ethiopia

The constitution requires the government to organise a referendum for any ethnic group that wants to form a new entity

Published

on

The unofficial green, blue and red flag of the advocated region for the Sidama ethnic group

An Ethiopian political party pushing for the creation of a breakaway region said Thursday it was prepared to go along with new plans for a referendum announced by electoral officials. Leaders of the Sidama ethnic group in southern Ethiopia had planned to unilaterally declare their own federal state on Thursday – a move analysts warned could inflame Ethiopia’s political crisis and lead to bloodshed.

At present, Ethiopia is partitioned into nine semi-autonomous regions. The constitution requires the government to organise a referendum for any ethnic group that wants to form a new entity within a year of them requesting it. The Sidama have agitated for years to leave the diverse Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region of which they are a part, and create their own state.

The group – the largest in the state – said the deadline for the referendum was Thursday. However, Ethiopia’s election board said this week it would hold a referendum before the end of the year. It said it had not received the referendum request until November 2018, meaning it still had several months to hold the vote.

Though the Sidama Liberation Movement political party earlier said a referendum held after July would be unacceptable, spokesman Desalegne Mesa said Thursday that the party would accept the new timeline in the interest of peace.

“We agree to that point because even if the electoral board and the (ruling coalition) are ignoring the people and the constitution we are working to minimise the loss of life,” he said. “Our young people are calming themselves and staying at home. They have to get ready to prepare our referendum programme.”

It was not clear whether the party’s new stance would be endorsed by everyone in Hawassa, where residents said the streets were quiet Thursday morning and the security forces had ramped up their presence.

Many young people who had agitated for the creation of a new state are “not happy” with plans for a November referendum and people are wary of how they might react, one Hawassa resident told reporters. “If nothing is happening people may come out later,” the resident said. “I think most people are just staying at home for the time being.”

The Sidama issue is the latest headache for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is determined to reform the nation after decades of an iron-fisted rule but is facing ethnic violence in the diverse country that has displaced more than two million people.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Newsletter

Trending