Culminating a Turbulent Week, General Asaminew Tsige Shot Dead
June 24, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Brigadier General Asaminew Tsige was shot dead by Ethiopian security forces, according to Ethiopian state media, ETV. This marks the end of a few tumultuous days, the ramification of which is yet to be seen in the days and months to come.
General Asminew Tsigie is believed to have been behind the recent coordinated attacks in Bahir Dar city and Addis Ababa.
In those attacks, the Ethiopian Army Chief of Staff, General Seare Mekonnen, and Deputy Chief Administrator of Amhara region, Dr. Ambachew Mekonnen, were gunned down. Two other top leaders of the Amhara region were also killed in the Bahir Dar attack, as was an associate of General Seare, General Gezae Aberra, in Addis Ababa.
Both the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, and representatives of the Amhara regional government blamed the reneged general for the killings.
General Seare Mekonnen was killed by one of his bodyguards. The bodyguard was reportedly acting weird moments before the killing, according to General Seare's wife.
Also killed along with General Seare was a retired Army General Gezae Aberra, who was visiting his friend at General Seare's home.
Brigadier General Asaminew Tsigie was on the run when he was killed by security forces in Zenzema area, near Bahir Dar.
Brigadier General Asaminew was born in Wello, Lasta area. After getting his education, he served as a teacher in Dessie town, in Amhara region.
He then joined the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM, now renamed the Amhara Democratic Party, ADP) to start his political career.
He joined the Ethiopian army later, where he rose through the ranks. He was sent to United States of America to get education in military science.
Following his return from the USA, he served as head of Ethiopian Defense College.
In 2001, General Asaminew Tsigie was suspected of plotting a coup against Prime Minister Meles Zenawi government. He was arrested, charged and later convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
After serving 9 years in prison, General Asaminew received pardon from the current Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and had his military title restored with full benefits.
Following his release, General Asaminew became active in Amhara political circles. He was recently appointed as head of peace and security matters in the Amhara regional government. It unknown why the ADP appointed him to such a position despite his recent history. It is also strange how he was able to organize such a deadly network in the midst of the Amhara and Federal leadership.
Brigadier General Asaminew Tsige became one of the proponents of Amhara nationalism. He constantly argued that the Amhara nation is under seige and advised the Amhara youth to get armed. He was also a strong believer of settling border issues by force, if necessary, especially those involving Tigray.
Some reports indicate that the Amhara regional government was growing concerned with the General's extremism that it was seriously considering detaining him. It is possible that the general may have acted preemptively knowing what was coming.
Brigadier General Asaminew is believed to have some support among Amhara youth, which he has been cultivating since his release. The link between him and the National Movement of Amhara (NAMA) is unknown, although both initially tried to downplay the significance of the armed attack on both the Amhara regional government and the Ethiopian military as some kind of security lapse.
The Amhara region has been going through power struggle between different factions. On the one hand is the ruling party, the ADP. On the other is NAMA, which has been gaining momentum until very recently. And then there are individuals such as General Asaminew who tried to form shadowy groups of their own.
Both NAMA and other opposing groups believe the ADP has failed to defend and promote the interests of the Amhara people. They believe it failed the Amhara people when the TPLF (Tigrayan People's Liberation Front) ran supreme, and they believe it is failing now when ODP (Oromo Democratic Party) is in the lead.
This latest incident may serve as a clarifying event leading one group to prevail over the other. If NAMA is somehow found to be involved in the latest violence in anyway, it could alter its trajectory, and possibly that of the country, in ways hitherto unthinkable.
Currently, Ethiopia is caught with a ruling party unable to unite itself and govern effectively. The party is composed of individual organizations and leaders pursuing narrowly-focussed regional agendas. After years of harsh political conditions, the opposition is highly fragmented and very weak, and it is in no position to assume power any time soon. The country is, therefore, at the mercy of assortment of individuals and parties whose interests have been diverging over time, none of them prevailing over the other, and, according to many, all of them totally unfit for the times.