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Alleged Mastermind of Ethiopia State Coup Shot and Killed

An Ethiopian man reads a newspaper with the pictures of Amhara state President Ambachew Mekonnen, killed in Bahir Dar, and of Army Chief of Staff Seare Mekonnen, who was shot by his bodyguard, on a street in Addis Ababa, June 24, 2019.

The alleged leader of Saturday's coup attempt in Ethiopia's northern Amhara state has been shot and killed.

A reporter in the state capital, Bahir Dar, told VOA's Horn of Africa service that General Asamnew Tsige was killed in the capital Monday while trying to escape from security forces.

Meanwhile, an official wounded during Saturday's coup attempt, regional prosecutor Migbaru Kebede, has passed away from his injuries, according to a state media report.

Gunmen broke into a meeting in Bahir Dar on Saturday, killing regional president Ambachew Mekonnen and one of his senior advisors. State media named General Asamnew, Amhara state's head of security, as the leader of the coup attempt.

Hours later, Ethiopia's army chief of staff was killed by his bodyguard at his home in Addis Ababa. Officials have said the two attacks are linked.

The ultimate motive for the attacks remains unclear. Analysts said Asamnew was an Amhara nationalist who was likely facing the loss of his job because of efforts to form a militia.

He was released from prison just last year, after receiving an amnesty from a 2009 coup attempt.

The U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa expressed shock and sadness over the attacks. "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.