In a Dramatic Move, Ethiopian Prime Minister Sacks Foreign Minister, Defense and Intelligence Chiefs

By Staff Reporter

PM-Abiy-Ahmed-reshuffleNovember 8, 2020 ( -- In a dramatic move, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sacked General Adem Mohammed as Chief of Staff of the national defense force days after his government launched a military offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

In supervise reshuffle announced on Sunday, Abiy also removed Gedu Andargachew as Minister of Foreign Affairs and gave him a new role as Advisor to the Prime Minister on matters of national security.

Demeke Mekonnen has been appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs while holding his current position as Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

It is unclear if Adem Mohammed is appointed for a different role. He served in the position since June 2019 following the assassination of General Seare Mekonnen who was chief of Defense Forces.

General Berhanu Jula who was serving as deputy chief of staff and head of operations of the defense forces is now promoted as Chief of Defense Staff.

Retired Lieutenant General Abebaw Tadesse who recently rejoined the Defence Forces following a call from the Prime Minister has been named Deputy Chief of Staff of the army.

Prime Minister Abiy also removed Demelash Gebremichael as head of the National Information and Security Services and appointed him as the Federal Police Commissioner.

No reason was given for the reshuffle and dismissal and it unknown Gedu has experience on the new position.

Meanwhile, President of Amhara regional state Temesgen Tiruneh has left his position and has been replaced by his deputy Agegnehu Teshager.

Temesgen assumed a new role as director of Ethiopian national intelligence, He is said to have some work experience in the intelligence service.

Appointments of senior positions at the federal level are based on a quota system whereby members of different ethnic groups assume high level posts in the federal structure.

Until Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in April 2018, senior positions in the army were allegedly held by ethnic Tigrians while the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) led government ruled the country for 27 years.

During PM Abiy Ahmed administrations, according to some observers, many senior positions in the army are allegedly held by ethnic Oromos from where the Prime Minister comes from.

Last Wednesday, 16 Tigrians officers from the Ethiopian Federal Army, including a colonel, a commander and 12 lieutenants crossed to Djibouti in an attempt to seek political asylum, the Djibouti intelligence service said

Head of Djibouti intelligence service Hassan Khaireh said the officers will be delivered to Ethiopia despite their protests and in violation of the 1951 Geneva Convention.

Meanwhile, millions of people are at risk of displacement from the escalating conflict in Tigray, the United Nations said in a report published on Saturday, warning that the fighting was blocking food and other aid.

About 600,000 people in Tigray depend on food aid to survive, while another 1 million receive other forms of support, all of which are disrupted, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

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