situation report

Ethiopia: Four Senior Figures Killed During Regional Coup Attempt

2 MINS READJun 23, 2019 | 14:16 GMT

What Happened: Ethiopia's Prime Minister said that four people, including the Army's chief of staff and a regional governor, were killed during a coup attempt to take control of Ethiopia's northern Amhara region, BBC reported June 22. The central government accused Amhara's regional security chief Asaminew Tsige of plotting the coup, which appears to have failed. There were also reportedly shots fired in the capital of Addis Ababa and most of the country was subject to an internet blackout. Several perpetrators have been arrested and several others are reportedly being pursued.

Why It Matters: The attempted coup illustrates just how volatile the country's fragile ethnic and regional politics are becoming, which will increase risk and uncertainty for potential investors and others. Since assuming power in April 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his allies have swept aside many key players in addition to loosening media and political restrictions. While the June 22 intra-party coup earned plaudits from many everyday Ethiopians, the attempted has also alienated formerly powerful factions and heralds an increase in inter-ethnic strife. 

Background: Long-running anti-government protests in 2016 and 2017 forced the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition to reverse its hardline strategy, propelling the youthful Abiy Ahmed to power. Since then, the prime minister and his allies have overseen the partial dismantling of the power system that had been in place for decades, while opening the country's closed political and financial systems to drive economic growth and development.

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