Court Finds 5 Guilty of Plot to Kill PM Abiy Ahmed

By Staff Reporter

Meskel-square-bomb-blastAugust 28, 2020 ( -- The Ethiopian High Court on Friday passed a guilty verdict on five defendants who were charged for attempted assassination against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during a rally held in support of the premier’s sweeping reforms.

A bomb that was thrown at the stage while Abiy waved to the crowd of tens of thousands in Addis Ababa’s Meskel Square on June 23, 2018, killed two people and wounded more than 163 others.

Accordingly, the court passed a guilty verdict on the defendants namely Getu Girma, Berhanu Jafar, Tilahun Getachew, Bahiru Tolla, and Desalegn Tesfaye for trying to kill the premier in the grenade attack.

The prosecutor accused the defendants except for the fifth defendant Desalegn Tesfaye based on the Ethiopian criminal law article 32, 36, and 38 and Ethiopian anti-terrorism law proclamation number 652 article 3.

The charges say the five defendants joined efforts to kill Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed claiming Abiy is not popular among Oromos, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, and wanted to pave the way for the once-banned Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).

The charges read the defendants plotted the attempted assassination in Sululta, outside of Addis Ababa after they received directives from Genet Tamiru, the alleged mastermind of the attack. Genet lives in Kenya but it is not clear if the Ethiopian government is working on her extradition to Ethiopia.

According to the charges, the first defendant called Getu Girma received an order form Genet to kill the premier. Tamiru then formed the assassin group to kill the Prime Minister at the rally.   Genet Tamiru who reportedly is a member of OLF.

Police charges said Getu met with the second defendant Berhanu Jafar in Sululta and held an in-depth discussion on how they would carry out the attack. All the defendants met in different places including at Asko and piazza and discussed the assassination.

According to the charges, the third, fourth, and fifth defendants had dressed T-shirts having the image of Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed before they arrived at Meskel Square in a car. In line with their mission, they mingled with the rally, and the third defendant, Tilahun Getachew, threw a bomb toward the stage after the Prime Minister finished his speech.

Two people were killed and 163 others were wounded due to the bomb attack, the charges read.

The fourth defendant, Bahiru Tolla, threw the one F-bomb at a small football field in front of Nani building but the bomb did not explode, the charges said. Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) has not yet remarked on the issue at this writing.

Prime Minister described the attack at the time as an “unsuccessful attempt by forces who do not want to see Ethiopia united”

The court has adjoined the case for another date for the final verdict.

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