Ethiopia: Ringleaders of commandos accused of plotting to kill PM arraigned before court-martial

by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (November 29, 2018)

Ringleaders of special commandos who are accused of plotting to kill Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last month were arraigned before a court-martial.

Last month, about 240 special commandos showed up unannounced at the National Palace fully armed and demand to speak with the Prime Minister. The soldiers said they wanted the PM to address salary and benefit issues.

Although they were allowed to enter the Palace leaving their weapons behind and had spoken to the PM, it turned out that the leaders had a more sinister motive. A week later, Abiy Ahmed told the Parliament that a few among the soldiers who came to his Palace to demand pay raises had actually came to kill him.

He said the aim of the ringleaders was to “abort” the political reform process. But he said he had to defuse the situation by giving soldiers the opportunity to get things off their chest. He said the jovial atmosphere he created and the pushups he did with the soldiers were to ease the tension.

The Chief of Staff, Seare Mekonnen said last month that the special commandos that showed up at the National Palace and demand to speak to the Prime Minister had violated the country’s constitution and the military discipline that they were highly expected to strictly adhere to.

Legal affairs head at the Ministry of Defense, Brigadier General Kiddu Alemu told Defense Television that investigations have been completed and the instigators of the unlawful act had been brought to a military court. He said information has been gathered from those who took part in the march to the Palace and those members of the army who were not part of the incident. Brigadier General Kiddu Alemu told the Defense Television that the legal actions being taken would teach others that such unlawful moves by soldiers would not be tolerated.

The special commandos were heading to their camps outside Addis Ababa after a deployment in Burayu where at least two dozen people were killed in ethnic motivated attacks.