Ethiopia releases 121 over coup links

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EYEAFRICA TV: Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Thursday that his government have released 121 of 355 people who were arrested on suspicion of links to a coup attempt in June in the Amhara regional government.

During a wide-ranging news conference at his office, PM Ahmed rejected criticism that moves after the coup attempt amounted to a witch hunt and an effort at stifling dissent.

Brig. Gen. Asaminew Tsige, who was the chief of the Amhara regional state security bureau, is accused of being the mastermind of the June 22 attempted putsch that resulted in the killing of four high-profile regional officials and two high-ranking generals.

Ahmed said his government opened up the political space, invited previously armed dissent into the national political landscape, and released prisoners and relaxed laws deemed stifling. “The June 22 phenomenon was dangerous and that might have resulted in instability in the country as a whole,” he said, and added, “It was perilous if it was not put under control.

He said his government pursued more wisdom in handling the situation, saying they received floods of tips as to the attempted coup but they made only fewer arrests than they should have in Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar, referring to the capital of Amhara regional state in northwestern Ethiopia.

He said investigation into the coup attempt continues but said there has been improvement and there was relative stability in the security situation in the previously troubled Western Oromia area that saw repeated insurgency since he came to power in April 2018.

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