Arrests in Ethiopia’s Amhara

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Ethiopian police arrested 56 members of an Amhara political party following a failed attempt to seize power in the province, the party’s spokesman said.

The arrests took place in the national capital Addis Ababa, said Christian Tadele, spokesman for the National Movement of Amhara, increasingly popular among the ethnic group comprising around 25% of Ethiopia’s population.

Since its founding last year, the party emerged as a rival to an Amhara party in the ruling EPRDF coalition. It condemned the violence in the region and denies any link to an attempt to seize power there.

The police and prime minister’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On Saturday, gunmen shot dead two top military officials in Addis Ababa and three top regional officials in Bahir Dar, capital of Amhara region, in what government called a failed regional coup.

Dozens were killed in Bahir Dar in fighting that followed when militia attacked regional police headquarters, ruling party headquarters and regional president’s office.

Government accused regional security chief, General Asamnew Tsige, an Amhara ethnic nationalist, of trying to seize power in the region. He was killed by government forces on Monday.