Ethiopian gov’t arrested wife of alleged coup leader

Wife of Brigadier General Asaminew Tsige is in police custody, police in Burayu, town in Oromo regional state has confirmed.

Asaminew Tsige _ Wife
The late Brig. General Asaminew Tsige

July 5, 2019

Wife of alleged “coup” leader is arrested, BBC reported on Friday citing daughter of the late Brigadier General Asaminew Tsige, Mahlet Asaminew.

Police arrested Woizero Desta Assefa in Burayu, in the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa.

The brother of the late Asaminew Tsige, who is not identified by name, is missing and his whereabouts are not known to the family and he did not even attend his brother’s funeral in Lalibela, according to Mahlet Asaminew who spoke to BBC Amharic.

Burayu town police confirmed to BBC Amharic Service that Woizero Desta Assefa is in police custody and that her arrest is related to “coup” in Bahir Dar in the seat of Amhara regional state on June 22.

The town’s head of security and administration, Solomon Tadesse, said that she was arrested in accordance with the law and that she is arrested as part of the investigation into the alleged coup as police seek to gather relevant information, based on BBC Amharic report.

Mahlet, daughter, told BBC Amharic that police took her mother from home which is located in the locality of Ashewa Meda, Burayu town, as reported by BBC Amharic.

Woizero Desta was arrested on Thursday. She was first taken to a police station near Ashwamedha but Mahlet was told that her mother is not at the police station when she went to visit on Friday in the morning. However, Burayu police claim that Woizero Desta is still in Burayu police station.

As the family was in Lalibela, the birthplace of General Asaminew Tsige, for a funeral, police already searched Brigadier General Asaminew Tsige’s home in Burayu and seized a vehicle, a laptop, and additional evidence, Mahlet Asaminew told BBC Amharic and police has confirmed.

 Police also came to the residence the next day.

Ethiopian government accuses the late Brigadier General Asaminew Tsige, who was head of Amhara region peace and security, as coordinator of “coup” against Amhara regional state on June 22 of this year which led to the killings of the region’s president, Ambachew Mekonnen, his advisor Ezez Wasse, and the region’s attorney general, Migbaru Kebede.

Three hours after the killings of three of Amhara region’s leaders in Bahir Dar, Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Defense Force, General Seare Mekonnen was killed in his residence while “coordinating a military response to the coup,” as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government claimed.  His friend Brigadier General Gezai Abera, who was visiting General Seare at the time, was also killed.

The Ethiopian government has linked the killing of chief of staff with the alleged coup attempt. When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appeared in parliament this week, he told the parliament that there were other attempts to but they are not made public yet.

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