Ex-spy chief planned botched assassination attempt on PM: Prosecutor says

One of rare photos of Getachew Assefa

by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (November 12, 2018)

The general prosecutor said the former head of the National Intelligence and Security Services Agency was the person who coordinated the foiled assassination attempt against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in June.

Berhanu Tsegaye, the prosecutor general told a gaggle of reporters in Addis Ababa that his office and the police have done their investigations which indicated that the spy chief had concocted the assassination attempt. But Berhanu Tsegaye did not mention the former spy chief, Getachew Assefa, by name even after repeated questions by reporters that he should give a name.

The prosecutor general said the ex-spy chief had ordered his deputy and the anti-terrorism head at NISSA, Tesfaye Urge and Genet Tamiru with an alias Toleshi Tamiru, who is based in Kenya, to recruit others for the crime.

According to the prosecutor, Getachew Assefa had used people who are ethnic Oromo to carry out the botched assassination attempt to give the false impression that the Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, who is also ethnic Oromo, was not favored by the Oromos themselves and the Premier was rejected by the Oromo people.

Abiy Ahmed escaped an assassination attempt on June 23, 2018, at a rally organized in his support and political reforms. A bomb was hurled in the direction of the podium where the Prime Minister and other dignitaries were sitting, killing two and injuring 165. The Prime Minister was swiftly escorted out unscathed.
ESAT reported in August that an Ethiopian court had issued an arrest warrant on the former spy chief, Getachew Assefa, who has since been hiding in his hometown, Mekele, Tigray region.

According to the court warrant, Assefa is wanted for a range of several serious crimes.

He was the country’s head of intelligence for many years under the TPLF regime but was removed after a reformist Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, took control of political power in April.

Getachew Assefa and his spy agency have been responsible for the imprisonment, torture and killing of dissidents including journalists.

Assefa remained faceless and has rarely been seen in public. He shunned the media and only a couple of photos of him are available in the public domain.