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Ethiopia army chief shot dead by own bodyguard in failed coup

Ethiopia's army chief of staff has been shot dead by his own bodyguard during a failed coup, state media is reporting.

General Seare Mekonnen is one of at least four senior officials to have been killed.

Ethiopia's prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, said his government foiled a coup attempt in the region outside the capital, Addis Ababa.

new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed,
Image: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed confirmed the failed coup attempt

He told the state broadcaster overnight that the attempt was orchestrated by Amhara state's security head, General Asamnew Tsige.

Amhara state president Ambachew Mekonnen and his adviser were also killed, according to state media.

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A week ago, General Asamnew had openly advised the Amhara people, one of Ethiopia's larger ethnic groups, to arm
themselves, in a video spread on Facebook and seen by a Reuters reporter.

Most of the perpetrators behind the coup have been arrested, a general in charge of special forces in Amhara told state media on Sunday.

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The US embassy reported gunfire on Saturday in the capital and warned people to take caution.

Mr Abiy has been attempting to spearhead political reforms amid widespread unrest.

Since coming to power in April last year, Mr Ahmed has pushed to open up the once isolated country.

His government has released political prisoners, removed bans on political parties and prosecuted officials accused of gross human rights abuses.

However, ethnic violence has flared up in many areas, including Amhara, where the regional government was led by Ambachew Mekonnen.

Residents in Amhara's capital Bahir Dar reported gunfire in some neighbourhoods and some roads had been closed off.

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