Adem Mohammed Appointed Army Chief, Demelash Gebremichael Security Chief

Adem-DemelashJune 28, 2019 ( -- Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed General Adem Mohammed as Chief of Staff of the National Defense Forces, replacing the General Seare Mekonnen, who was gunned down in his home by his bodyguard earlier this week.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also appointed Demelash Gebremichael as Director-General of National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), replacing General Adem Mohammed who served in that role for about a year. Demelash Gebremikael was deputy chief of NISS, appointed a year ago and held that position until now.

Also appointed was Lieutenat General Molla Hailemariam as Chief of Ground Forces in the Ethiopian Army. Lieutenant General Molla Hailemariam has served as chief of Ethiopian Air Force.

General Adem Mohammed is an ethnic Amhara. He was a member of the ANDM (Amhara National Democratic Movement, later renamed Amhara Democratic Party, ADP).

Demelash Gebremikael is an ethnic Oromo. He was a member of Central Committee of ODP (Oromo Democratic Party) at one time. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Chief of NISS last year, Demelash Gebremikael served as Chief of Security of Oromia regional state; Commissioner General of Oromia Police Commission; & Internal Security Advisor to the federal Police Commissioner.

The Ethiopian army and security leadership is now heavily dominated by ethnic Ethiopian Oromos. The Prime Minister and Commander in Chief of the Ethiopian Armed Forces, Abiy Ahmed, is an Ethiopian ethnic Oromo. The Minister of Defense, Lemma Megersa, is an ethnic Oromo. The Chief of Intelligence (NISS), Demelash Gebremichael, is an ethnic Oromo. The Deputy Chief of Staff of Ehiopian Armed forces, General Birhanu Jula, is an ethnic Oromo. The head of Republican Guard, Brigadier General Birhanu Bekele, is an ethnic Oromo. The Ethiopian Attorney General, Berhanu Tsegaye, is an ethnic Oromo.

The shakeup of top army brass follows the turmoil that rocked the country from twin attacks. In Bahir Dar, the leader of Amhara region, Dr. Ambachew Mekonnen, and two other top level officials were assassinated by special forces, which the government said was led by General Asaminew Tsige, who was later killed, according to government report. General Asaminew was a cabinet member of the Amhara regional government in charge of security affairs. In Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian army chief of staff, General Seare Mekonnen and his friend, retired general Gezae Aberra, were killed by a bodyguard in yet undetermined circumstances. The killer was later identified as Mesafint Tigabu, an army sergent. Earlier, the government had declared that Mesafint was killed on the spot. Two days later, however, the government reversed its position and acknowledged that Mesafint is in custody, recuperating from bullet wounds.

The confusion was compounded by the Ethiopian government closure of the internet for nearly a week. The internet, an extremely vital network elsewhere in the world, is now being used in Ethiopia as a tool for large and small matters. It seems to be used rather callously and contrary to earlier commitments the government made to the Ethiopian people. It must be recalled that, while assuming office, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had delclared transparency (truth, openess and freedom of expression) as one of the foundations of his government.

The PM’s office has acknowledged that hundreds of individuals have been arrested in connection with the assassinations. Some political and civic parties have released statements indicating that their members are among those detained, including NAMA (National Movement of Amhara) and the Baladera Council, an organization setup to defend the status of Addis Ababa.

Notwithstanding the governments assurances that law and order have been restored, Ethiopia is currently on edge due to the marked deterioration of the security climate in the country and the mysteries surrounding it. It remains to be seen what steps Abiy Ahmed's government will take next to allay public fear and disappointment. But, by now, it is clear that a remarkably peace-loving people is being tried repeatedly, not by a reckless youth airing some grievances, but by those who should know better and to whom law and order should be vital.



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