Jonathan, Atiku speak on failed regional coup in Ethiopia

Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar

Two former Nigerian leaders have condemned the regional coup in Ethiopia that led to the death of four officials.

The chief of staff of the Ethiopian Army, Seare Mekonnen, and three other people, were killed in the failed coup, officials said.

PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr Mekonnen was killed on Saturday evening by his own bodyguard in Addis Ababa, the capital of the East African nation.

The regional governor of Amhara, Ambachew Mekonnen, and an adviser were also killed in separate attacks on Sunday.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, speaking on TV, said Mr Mekonnen and another officer died trying to prevent a coup attempt in Amhara region.

He said the situation in the region and across the country is under control.

Atiku, Jonathan Speak

Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, and a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, condemned the coup.

In a statement released by the former president on Sunday evening, he stated that nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of citizens.

“I have long said, believed and practised the principle that nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any citizen.

“As such, it bleeds my heart when there is unnecessary and avoidable bloodshed, as has just happened in Ethiopia.”

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He also condemned the attempted coup against the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

“I go further to call on men and women of goodwill around the world to also condemn such anti-democratic actions and show solidarity to the democratically elected constitutional order in Ethiopia.”

“Democracy has come to rest in Africa. Constitutionality and the rule of law are what we in Africa need, especially in the cradle of civilisation and the melting pot of the African Union.”

In his reaction, Mr Abubakar noted that any coup is against the tenets of democracy.

“The coup attempt against the democratically elected government of @PMEthiopia stands condemned. Democracy has come to stay in Africa and we must accept this. As a democrat, my right hand of fellowship is offered to the people of Ethiopia,” he wrote on his Twitter handle.

Prime minister sympathizes with the family of the bereaved

Prime Minister Abiy has sent his condolences to friends and family of the deceased.

According to a CNN report, Mr Abiy assured the public during a televised press conference Saturday that the failed coup was not “committed by any ethnic group but by ill-motivated individuals.”

He called on “all Ethiopians, both armed and not armed” to stand with the government and provide information to “defend the unity of our country.”

“A similar attempt was committed last year in June but we successfully overcame it,” Mr Abiy said in reference to a grenade attack at a rally he attended in 2018.

How It occurred

According to Aljazeera, an Ethiopian government spokeswoman, Billene Seyoum, told journalists that a “hit squad” burst into a meeting in the state offices of Amhara’s capital, Bahir Dar, on Saturday and shot regional government head Ambachew Mekonnen and his adviser Ezez Wassie.

The men were “gravely injured in the attack and later died of their wounds,” the official was quoted as saying.

The assault was led by Amhara’s security chief Asaminew Tsige, the official said.

“Several hours later, in what seems like a coordinated attack, the chief of the staff of the national security forces Seare Mekonnen was killed in his home by his bodyguard in Addis Ababa.”

Ms Billene added that also shot dead was a retired general who had been visiting him.

Ethiopia has witnessed largely ethnic protests by citizens in Amhara and other parts of the country in the past few years. The protesters marched against totalitarian rule and demanded the democratisation of the country.

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