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Ethiopia army chief, local officials killed amid regional ‘coup’ bid

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Ethiopia’s army chief, Seare Mekonnen, (C in the background) was on of those shot dead in a wave of violence highlighting the political instability

Ethiopia’s army chief and a top local leader have been shot dead during an attempt to overthrow a regional government in the north of the country, underscoring political instability as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tries to reform the nation.

Violence flared on Saturday afternoon in Amhara, one of nine autonomous regions, when a “hit squad” attacked a meeting of top officials, Abiy’s office said Sunday.

Spokeswoman Billene Seyoum told journalists the Amhara “coup attempt” was led by local security chief Asaminew Tsige, who was only last year released from almost a decade in prison over a 2009 coup plot.

State president Ambachew Mekonnen as well as his advisor were “gravely injured in the attack and later died of their wounds,” she said, adding that the regional attorney general had been seriously wounded.

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“Several hours later in what seems like a co-ordinated attack, the chief of the staff of the national security forces Seare Mekonnen was killed in his home by his bodyguard”, she said.

Seare and a visiting retired general were shot dead in his home in the upmarket Bole district of Addis Ababa, home to diplomats, aid workers and expats.

The bodyguard has been apprehended while Asaminew was still on the loose, sources said.

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