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News: Ethiopia police seek terrorism charges on suspects detained in connection with coup plot; NaMA says 56 of its members arrested

Members of the “Addis Abeba Bale’adera Mikir Bet” (roughly, Addis Abeba caretaker council). Photo: Social Media

Mahlet Fasil

Addis Abeba, June 27/2019 – Six individuals arrested over the weekend have appeared yesterday at the federal first instance court Arada branch. The police accused the individuals of having connections with as well as involvement at various levels in Saturday’s failed coup attempt in Amhara regional state and the killing of the army chief of staff along with a retired general in Addis Abeba.

The police told judges that they were seeking to bring terrorism charges against the suspects.

The suspects who appeared at the court are Mastewal Arega, Berihun Adane, Sintayehu Chekol, Merkebu Haile, Gedion Wondwosen, and Hayelom Berhane. Sintayehu Chekol and Merkebu Haile are involved in a leadership positions with the recently organized “Addis Abeba Bale’adera Mikir Bet” (roughly, Addis Abeba caretaker council), a movement organized and spearheaded by activist/journalist Eskinder Nega “to protect the interests of Addis Abeba residents.” Other than the two, Gedion Wondwosen is also a member of the council.

The police sought 28 days to further investigate the suspects, a request invoked by police to investigate suspects of terrorism related offenses. Accordingly, the judges have granted the police’s request to remand and investigate the six suspects and adjourned the next preliminary hearing on July 24 and ordered the police to present their preliminary findings of the investigation.

This is the first appearance of individuals detained suspected of having connections with Saturday’s killing in which three senior government officials from Amhatra regional state, including the president Ambachew Mekonnen (Phd), were shot dead in Bahir Dar. Army chief of staff General Seare Mekonnen and Major General Gezai Abera (retired) were also killed by the bodyguard of the former at his house in Addis Abeba. The government says the two incidents are connected.

Reports of more arrests have been emerging since Monday June 24 both from the capital Addis Abeba and Bahir Dar.

The Amhara regional state police said on Monday that Brig. Gen. Tefera Mamo, former prisoner who became the head of the Amhara region’s Special Force, and Colonel Alebel Amare, head of the region’s peace-building and security bureau, were detained in connection with Saturday’s assassination of high level government officials.

And today, Christian Tadele, spokesman of the National Movement of Amhara (NaMA), a newly formed opposition political party challenging the regional government headed by Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), told media that 56 of its members were detained from various places in the country. AS

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