Six deaths, including General Asaminew Tsige who is considered the instigator of the incident. And this is the only accurate piece of information about the failed coup in Ethiopia, which occurred on the night of June 22 to 23rd. At that, it is still unclear what has happened, with the current government underestimating the scale of this "regional coup".
It happened in Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara, one of the nine states of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Negussu Tilahun, Press Secretary to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, announced that a group led by chief of Amhara security rushed into the Saturday evening meeting, instantly killing president of the region Ambachew Mekonnen and his Advisor Ezez Wassie and seriously injuring Attorney General Migbaru Kebede, who died later of the wounds.
In a few hours, according to an official government spokesman, in the course of an attack that was most probably prepared, Ethiopia’s National Defense Force Chief of Staff General Seare Mekonnen was murdered by his own bodyguard at his place in Addis Ababa. A retired general who was there on a visit, died as well. And a few hours earlier, a warning about possible riots was issued by the US Embassy in the capital.
Seare Mekonnen's bodyguard, his name withheld, was hospitalized with gunshot wounds received during the shootout. Initially, the government announced the arrest of the bodyguard but later this information was refuted by police chief Endeshaw Tasew, who referred to a suicide instead.
The alleged facilitator of the failed coup, General Asaminew Tsige, was killed by the police in a skirmish on the fringes of Bahir Dar while trying to escape. The general headed the Amhara state security forces. Over the last few weeks, he had been urging the locals to take up arms through Facebook which, along with Twitter, became the opposition's favorite social media to attempt orchestrating color revolutions.
General Tsige was no stranger to subversive initiatives. In the past, he was arrested and sentenced to 9 years in prison for a failed coup d'état but returned home in 2018 under an amnesty granted by former President Hailemariam Desalegn. It is hard to determine the political reasons behind the tragedy but those are most likely interethnic contradictions that have always been tearing the country apart. They have obviously become a perfect ground for the influence of external, i.e. Western forces, with the balance of various geopolitical interests to be maintained, along with an inexhaustible interest in the country's natural resources, which implies a more or less disguised desire to perpetuate colonialism.
The fact is that the recent months witnessed ethnic clashes between the Amharans (who represent 27 per cent of the population, second only to the Oromo, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia with 34 per cent of the population) and the Gumuz. There number of victims accounted for over two hundred people. To end the conflict, the Addis Ababa government sent an army to these regions, while the local authorities from the States of Amhara and Benishangul Gumuz sought to mediate between the parties.
At the same time, the aggravated situation and manifestations of separatism forced the Ethiopian Prime Minister to dismiss General Tsige, driving the latter to outperform the head of government. This guess was perceived with a pinch of salt by the local sources, in whose eyes the idea of ethnic rivalry is more about covering political motivation. Did General Tsige try to start a new coup just a year after being amnestied for the previous attempt? Or did Abiy Ahmed, the initiator of a peace treaty with Eritrea and the 2018 Nobel peace prize winner, take the opportunity to get rid of all his opponents? These questions are difficult to answer precisely.
Moreover, if we put ethnic conflicts in a broader context, we should necessarily take note of Washington's increased attention to Ethiopia. The Amhara Association of America is located in Washington, whose President Tewodrose Tirfe recently said the following: "the Ethiopian community in America has mastered the norms of American democracy and believes it can change the situation in Ethiopia, starting with the state of Amhara." But with due regard to the local perception of America, such a message inevitably makes the citizens of Ethiopia imagine streets paved with dollars.