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Amid Ethiopia unrest, Amhara political party spokesman arrested

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Amid Ethiopia unrest, Amhara political party spokesman arrested
FILE PHOTO: Mourners carry the coffin of Amhara president Ambachew Mekonnen and two other officials who where killed in an attack, during their funeral in the town of Bahir Dar, Amhara region, Ethiopia June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo   -   Copyright  Baz Ratner(Reuters)
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By Dawit Endeshaw

ADDISABABA (Reuters) – Authorities in Ethiopia on Friday arrested the spokesman of a political party which promotes the interests of the Amhara ethnic group, the party president said.

The government confirmed more than 260 arrests in total, which it said were related to a failed regional coup attempt on Saturday in the region of Amhara.

Christian Tadele of the National Movement of Amhara (NAMA) was arrested in his home region of Amhara, party president Desalegn Chane told Reuters. NAMA was founded last year and has become an increasingly popular rival to the Amhara party that is part of the national ruling coalition.

“Our spokesman is arrested along with the other three members of the party,” he said. “We are trying to communicate with the regional officials asking for their release.”

On Friday afternoon, the Ethiopian prime minister’s office tweeted, “212 suspects apprehended in connection with the coup attempt in the Amhara region while 43 individuals detained in Addis Ababa – investigations still ongoing with potential for more arrests.”

Dozens of people were killed when a rogue state militia tried to seize power in Amhara’s capital Bahir Dar, the spokesman for the Amhara region has said.

The region’s president, his aide and the attorney general were all shot dead. The same night, the army’s chief of staff and a retired general with him were killed in the capital Addis Ababa in a related attack, the government said.

(Writing by Katharine Houreld, Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, William Maclean)

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