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More than 250 arrested after Ethiopia coup bid: officials


A woman mourns among soldiers standing guard ahead of the National funeral service, at the millennium hole in Addis Ababa, of Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian defence forces Seare Mekonnen and of Major-General Geza’e Abera, a retired former senior official in the Ethiopian army on June 25, 2019. – Ethiopian military and religious leaders condemned, on June 25, 2019, the assassinations of the army chief and other top officials at an emotional funeral service at which Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wept openly throughout. Ethiopia’s army chief, the president of Amhara state and three other top officials have been killed in two separate attacks on June 22, 2019. While the government has said the attacks took place within the context of an attempted coup in Amhara and are possibly linked, the overall motives remain murky. (Photo by Michael TEWELDE / AFP)

Ethiopia’s security forces have arrested more than 250 people in a sweeping crackdown following a failed suspected coup attempt and the assassination of five high-ranking officials, a government task force said Thursday.

The country has been on high alert since the attacks at the weekend in the capital Addis Ababa and northern Amhara state left the national army chief, a retired general and three senior regional officials dead.

A task force commissioned to probe what the government has called an attempted coup by a renegade security chief said the attackers conspired to kill a “wide array of government officials”.


The Security and Justice Taskforce “has arrested 212 suspects in Amhara region and 43 suspects in Addis Ababa,” it said in a statement issued late Thursday.

“Destructive forces have set aside the government’s mercy and kindness to commit an act of treason,” it added.

Two heavy machine guns and 27 automatic rifles were also seized during the arrest.

The two attacks happened hundreds of kilometres apart and have been described as an attempted coup.

The task force, however, said it was still investigating whether in fact the two attacks were related.

The violence has underscored the pressure on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has pursued democratic and economic reforms that critics say have left the country divided and wracked by ethnic fighting.

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