Addis Ababa: A coup attempt against the democratic government in Ethiopia, has been foiled. Brigadier Asaminew Tsige from the Amhara province in Ethiopia and his supporters killed five senior military officials including the Chief of Army staff. After taking over the Amhara province, Brigadier Asaminew Tsige was planning to overthrow the ruling Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government, in Ethiopia. But Brigadier Asaminew Tsige was killed in the encounter with the security agencies and the coup attempt has been foiled.
Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa. With a population of 100 million, this country is one of the emerging economies of the world,growing at a rapid rate. A country with more than 80 ethnic groups, is faced with large scale conflict and violence, since the last few years, and this has caused mass displacement of the citizens.
Abiy Ahmed, elected last year as the Prime Minister, has initiated democratic and humanitarian reforms in the country. Under this, many members of the extremist groups, rebels from the ethnic groups and volunteers detained on the human rights issues, have been released from jail. He has succeeded in ending the decades-long tension with the neighbouring country, Eritrea and recently a peace treaty has been signed with Eritrea.
But at the same time, the country is ravaged with ethnic conflict and violence. Since the last one year, severe conflicts have been sparked between the local ethnic groups and the people migrating from other provinces. Hundreds of people have been killed in the conflicts between ethnic groups like Gedeo, Guji and Somali. The conflict between Gedeo and Guji forced 700,000 citizens to migrate in a matter of just four months. These conflicts are the biggest obstacles in the path of the democratic reforms program, initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Against this background, the coup attempt on Saturday has been sensational. Asaminew Tsige was the defence chief of the Amhara province, and he had been released from jail,only last year. General Tsige, having an extreme ethnic and nationalist ideology, had demanded greater autonomy for the region. He had also incited the local people to take up arms and join the conflict.
Ethiopian Military Chief, Seare Mekonnen and President of the Amhara province, Ambachew Mekonnen were killed by the supporters of Brigadier Tsige, under his orders. Along with them, advisor to the President, one more senior military official and the Attorney General of the province were also attacked. All the three were killed in the attacks. But the Ethiopian military and security agencies immediately swung into action. The attempt to take over control of the Amhara province and thereafter, posing a challenge to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, through these killings, has been foiled.
Fears of similar incidences in the other provinces in the country are being expressed, following the Amhara incident. Therefore, there is a fear of the east African sector, along with Ethiopia, one of the leading economies in the region, becoming more unstable. A few months ago, a leading US website, Foreign Policy, had claimed that given the ethnic violence, Ethiopia could become one more Yugoslavia.
Yugoslavia, a major ally of Soviet Russia, disintegrated into 6 countries between 1989 and 1992. Therefore, the warning issued by Foreign Policy is indicating differently.