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Ethiopian Army Chief of Staff, Amhara State Leader Killed in Coup Attempt


Security forces stand guard in Meskel Square in central Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 23, 2019.

Ethiopian officials say the chief of staff of the army was shot and killed by his bodyguard late Saturday, hours after what officials described as an attempted coup in Ethiopia’s Amhara state.

A spokeswoman for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said army chief Seare Mekonnen and a retired general were killed in a "co-ordinated attack" in Seare's home.

Billene Seyoum said earlier Saturday what she called a "hit squad" broke into a meeting in Amhara state's capital, killing regional president Ambachew Mekonnen and one of his senior advisors.

State media reported that General Asamnew Tsige, Amhara state's head of security, was the leader of the coup attempt.

The bodyguard is reported to have been arrested, but Asamnew is not in custody.

The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa expressed shock and sadness over the late Saturday deadly attack.

"The attacks on these men were also an attack on the institutions and nation they served. The United States remains steadfast in its support for Ethiopia, as it pursues political and economic reforms that represent the surest path to Ethiopia’s prosperity, political inclusiveness, and stability," said a statement issued Sunday.

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