Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed vowed to press ahead with his reform agenda, saying he won’t be deterred by attacks on the country’s leadership.
“We will learn from the obstacles to prevent it from happening again,” Abiy said in a statement posted on his office’s Twitter account. “We will not steer away from our reforms, not even for a moment. We will not be distracted from our goal.”
Africa’s second-most populous nation is reeling from the killings of several officials in what the government has described as an attempted coup.
The assassinations mark the most serious assaults on Ethiopia’s leadership since the days of the military junta that ruled the country from 1974 until 1987.
Army chief Seare Mekonnen and retired Major-General Gezae Abera were killed at Seare’s residence by a bodyguard in the capital, Addis Ababa.
The attack came on the heels of the murders of the president of the Amhara region, Ambachew Mekonnen, and his adviser earlier that day. The attorney-general of Amhara, who was injured in the assault, died of his wounds.
Since assuming office, Abiy has tried to implement political and economic reforms as part of a strategy to attract more foreign investment. But he’s facing opposition by remnants of the old regime within the ruling party to the pace of reforms.
Abiy appointed the nation’s first female president in October and has promised democratic elections next year. The government is preparing to open the telecommunications market to outside investors for the first time, attracting interest from some of the biggest wireless carriers operating in Africa, including MTN Group and Vodacom Group.
Abiy’s office has blamed the attacks on Brigadier-General Asaminew Tsige, the head of Amhara’s administration and security bureau. Asaminew was previously imprisoned in 2009 for an alleged coup attempt and released last year by Abiy as part of a general amnesty of political prisoners. Asaminew was shot dead near Amhara’s capital while on the run.