ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s army chief of staff has been shot, the prime minister’s press secretary told Reuters on Sunday, hours after a failed coup attempt was reported in a federal state north of the capital.
It was unclear whether General Seare Mekonnen had been killed or wounded.
On Saturday, the government said there had been a failed coup attempt against the head of regional government in Amhara, one of Ethiopia’s nine federal states.
The developments underscore the challenges facing the Horn of Africa nation’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, as he tries to spearhead political reforms amid widespread unrest.
Since coming to power in April last year, Abiy has pushed to open up the once isolated, security-obsessed country. His government has released political prisoners, removed bans on political parties and prosecuted officials accused of gross human rights abuses.
However, ethnic violence – long held in check by the state’s iron grip – has flared up in many areas, including Amhara, where the regional government was led by Ambachew Mekonnen.
Residents in Amhara’s capital Bahir Dar said late on Saturday there was gunfire in some neighborhoods and that some roads had been closed off.
Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore