ADDIS ABEBA– Northern cities of Bahir Dar and Mekelle held funeral services for three top regional officials and generals who were killed in attacks over the weekend.
Thousands lined the streets of the two cities to mourn officials killed in a failed regional coup, as soldiers looked on, on Wednesday afternoon.
President of Amhara regional state Ambachew Mekonnen and his two colleagues, Ezez Wassie were shot dead in the region’s capital Bahir Dar city.
Another victim, the region’s top prosecutor Migbaru Kebede, also died in hospital from the injury he sustained during the attack.
“The fallen will be remembered for generations to come for their contribution to the region and the whole country,” Demeke Mekonnen, deputy prime minister, told the crowd in the region’s capital.
“We did not expect to lose the lives of our heroes who actively participated for the release of their eventual killers,” he said.
The attacks were allegedly led by Amhara’s head of state security General Asamnew Tsige, who had been openly recruiting fighters for ethnic militias in a state that has become a flashpoint for violence.
The coup plotter was shot on Monday near Bahir Dar, according to the Police.
Police also said four senior regional states, including Brig. General Tefera Mamo, have been arrested in connection with the coup.
“I call for law and order to be restored,” Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen said. “We should all reserve our emotions and respect the law.”
The bodies of Ambachew, Ezez, and Migbaru were laid to rest in Bahir Dar Gabriela Church at 2:00 pm on Wednesday.
The burial ceremony in the city of Bahir Dar was held in the presence of Ministers, regional presidents, members of the families of the deceased and government representatives from Eritrea and Sudan.
In the neighboring region of Tigray, thousands gathered in the capital Mekelle to see off the two generals.
Tigray was the home of the national army’s chief of staff, Seare Mekonnen, who was shot dead in Addis Abeba alongside another general from the region by his bodyguard late on Saturday.
Seare was shot dead by his bodyguard while leading the response to the attacks in Amhara on Saturday.
“We will not be divided by ethnicities. We will be united,” said General Asrat Denero, the chief of the Ethiopian military’s western command center.
But signs of the divisions were apparent away from the main ceremonies. Many in Tigray, whose citizens dominated the previous administration, have been angered by their loss of influence.
Some accused the government of being lax on security.