Ethiopia PM says soldiers' protest attempt to derail reforms

2018-10-18 18:29
 Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (File, AFP)

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ethiopia's reformist prime minister says a meeting with disgruntled soldiers last week was an attempt to derail dramatic reforms and "there were some sides who regretted I was not killed."

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's comments to lawmakers on Thursday indicated that the march on his office by dozens of soldiers was the latest attempt to challenge his rule. Abiy already has faced an assassination attempt since taking office in April.

The meeting, which caused concern in the capital and prompted the government to cut internet services for hours, had been described as being over a "pay issue." Abiy, a former soldier, defused the situation by joining the troops in push-ups.

On Thursday the prime minister blamed some elements of being behind the incident, without giving details. "Though it is difficult to say all the soldiers marched to my office with the same agenda, it was an attempt to derail the ongoing reforms."

Earlier this week the Ethiopian National Defence Force chief said military officers suspected of inciting the incident were in custody. General Seare Mekonnen said the manner in which some of the soldiers acted was "unconstitutional" and "out of military discipline."

"The prime minister has handled the soldiers in a smart way," Seyoum Teshome, a prominent blogger, told The Associated Press. "But the way those soldiers managed to march to his office without any hurdles shows the security apparatus has collapsed. It shows that there was a sabotage and indeed was also a dangerous move."

Rebellious soldiers are a rare sight in Ethiopia, a key US security ally in the Horn of Africa region. It has one of the largest armies in Africa.

The 42-year-old Abiy announced sweeping political and economic reforms after taking office. The new government now faces the challenge of opening up political space while keeping tensions among some of the country's scores of ethnic groups in check.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    ethiopia  |  east africa

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.