25 June 2019

Ethiopia: Experts Disagree Whether the Ethiopian Assassinations Reflect Only Regional and Ethnic Nationalist Tensions

Photo: Geocurrents
A regional map of Ethiopia.
analysis

The assassination of the president of Ethiopia's Amhara regional state in an alleged local coup attempt on Saturday was likely the result more of the fraught ethnic politics of Amhara than national tensions, an expert believes.

Amhara state president Ambachew Mekonnen, one of his advisers and the area's attorney-general were shot in Bahir Dar, the main city of Amhara state, north of the national capital Addis Ababa.

On Monday, Amhara state security chief Brigadier-General Asaminew Tsige, who the government suspected of killing Ambachew, was himself shot dead by soldiers, apparently while resisting arrest.

The government has also blamed Asaminew for ordering the assassination of Ethiopian national military chief General Seare Mekonnen in Addis Ababa on Saturday, shortly after the killing of Ambachew in Bahir Dar.

On Sunday, America's top African diplomat speculated that the assassinations in Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar could be part of wider efforts by Ethiopia's "old regime" to resist the far-reaching reforms of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took charge in April 2018.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Tibor Nagy told journalists in Pretoria that "there are vestiges of the old regime in power (still)".

"Some of the elites are very unhappy with the...

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