Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed weeps for general killed in 'coup bid'

Wednesday June 26 2019

Memorial of army chief Gen Seare Mekonnen.

People weep in Addis Ababa on June 25, 2019 at the memorial of Ethiopian army chief Gen Seare Mekonnen who was assassinated on June 22, 2019 in an alleged coup attempt. PHOTO | AFP 

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was seen weeping on Tuesday at a memorial for the army chief of staff who was shot dead in an alleged coup attempt.

Gen Seare Mekonnen was reportedly assassinated by his bodyguard on Saturday as part of a plot to seize power in the northern region of Amhara.

Officials say the bodyguard is being treated for his injuries, contradicting an earlier claim that he was dead.

The alleged ringleader of the coup was shot dead on Monday, police said.

Brig-Gen Asaminew Tsige was reportedly killed as he tried to escape from his hideout in Amhara's capital, Bahir Dar.

The internet has been shut across Ethiopia, after a brief resumption in service that followed an unexplained blackout lasting more than a week.


Tuesday's memorial service took place at a large venue in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, amid tight security.

Mourners paid their respects before flag-draped coffins bearing the bodies of Gen Seare and Gen Gezai Abera, who was assassinated with him.

Mr Abiy was filmed wiping away his tears while soldiers eulogised the dead men.

In a statement on state media on Monday evening, Ethiopian federal police apologised for having earlier said that the alleged assassin, Gen Seare's bodyguard, had killed himself.

The latest statement from the police said the bodyguard, who has not been named, was being treated for gunshot wounds in hospital. It is not clear if the injuries were self-inflicted.