Photo: አስር አለቃ (Corporal/Private?) Mesafint Tigabu

Addis Abeba, June 27/2019 – A statement issued by a “Security and Justice Task-force” has named the suspect in Saturday’s killing of Army Chief, Gen. Seare Mekonnen & Maj-Gen. Gezai Abera (rtd), as አስር አለቃ (Corporal/Private?) Mesafint Tigabu. He is one of Gen Seare’s security details. The statement said the suspect was “injured by federal security forces and is under arrest.”

The statement issued by the task force, which is comprised of members from the National Defense Force, the Attorney General office, the Federal Police, and the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), and was released via state media, said a total of 212 fully armed security forces were detained in Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara regional state, and were being investigated.

Ambachew Mekonnen (PhD), President of Amhara regional state, Migbaru Kebede, the Attorney General of Amhara regional state and Azeze Wasse, the regional administration’s public organization advisor, were all shot dead on Saturday in what the government maintains was a failed coup attempt orchestrated by Brig. Gen Asaminew Tsige, a former prisoner who was appointed as the Amhara regional state’s peace and security chief a few months after his release from prison last year. Brig. Gen Asaminew was subsequently killed by government security forces during a shootout on Monday near Bahir Dar.

In addition to the 212 security officers detained in Bahir Dar, 43 people are detained in Addis Abeba & are under investigation, the task-force says, adding that further evidences obtained suggest that subsequent attacks on other high level gov officials were also planned by the same cell led by Maj. Gen. Asaminew. A news report by Wazema Radio, a reliable independent podcast, cited its anonymous sources with knowledge to the matter as saying that the attacks were more coordinated than were anticipated and that military institutions in the capital Addis Abeba were targeted. Without mentioning the names, the report on Wazema also said two more regional state presidents were marked for similar attacks. The editors said they were withholding some of the raw information they have either due to the sensitivity of the matter, or because corroborating witnesses are deceased. However, the editors said they would further report on other facts they have uncovered.

Addis Abeba suspects

The statement by the Task-force did not mention who the suspects detained in Addis Abeba were. Earlier today, the National Movement of Amhara (NaMA), a newly formed opposition political party challenging the regional government headed by Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), said that 56 of its members were detained from various places in the country. Six individuals who were arrested over the weekend have also 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 both the 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.

display of weapons that the Task-force said were confiscated from Addis Abeba

Furthermore, the statement from the task-force said two machine-guns, 27 Kalashnikov rifles, several pistols, bullets & documents containing attack plans were confiscated from Addis Abeba & are being investigated. In a departure from earlier assertions by the government that the two incidents were linked the statement also said subsequent investigations were underway to determine on whether or not the attacks in Bahir Dar and Addis Abeba were connected. AS

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Editor’s Note: The Amharic term “አስር አለቃ” could as well be translates as Decanus, meaning “chief of ten” in Late Latin. Addis Standard welcomes clarifications from military experts on the exact meaning in English of አስር አለቃ in Ethiopia’s military hierarchy.

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