35 arrested in Ethiopia 'coup' swoop

The Ethiopian government arrested 35 people suspected of a coup attempt allegedly backed by an Ethiopian economist now teaching at a US university, a government spokesman said.

Government spokesman Ermias Legesse said the group, which calls itself on May 15 after the date of controversial 2005 elections in Ethiopia, was led from the US by former opposition leader Berhanu Nega, who is an associate professor of economics at Bucknell University.

“It is the party led by Berhanu Nega,” said Mr Ermias. “If he comes to Ethiopia, we’ll arrest him.”

He said the alleged plotters were arrested on Friday.

Interviewed in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania Mr Berhanu, 51, said he had no role in organising any coup attempt.

“I’m very suspicious that were was an attempt at all,” he said. “This is not a government that has any credibility whatsoever in terms of telling the truth.”

Mr Berhanu was elected mayor of Addis Ababa in 2005 but was arrested afterward along with more than 100 other opposition politicians and stood trial for treason. He and the others were freed in 2007 in a pardon deal. He left Ethiopia after the trial.

He said he hoped the administration of President Barack Obama would realise it is “unseemly” for the US to have any relationship with the Ethiopian regime.

The opposition won an unprecedented number of parliamentary seats in the 2005 vote, but not enough to topple Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

The opposition claimed the voting was rigged, and European Union observers said it was marred by irregularities. The election was followed by violent protests. Ethiopia acknowledged that its security forces killed 193 civilians protesting alleged election fraud.

Since 2005, there has been only one opposition-led political protest in Ethiopia, held this month in Addis Ababa.

More in this Section

Men who filmed themselves raping a woman in a Soho club facing jailMen who filmed themselves raping a woman in a Soho club facing jail

Extinction Rebellion launches legal action over London protest banExtinction Rebellion launches legal action over London protest ban

Google unveils Pixel 4 phone with ‘astrophotography’ capabilityGoogle unveils Pixel 4 phone with ‘astrophotography’ capability

Egypt announces discovery of ancient coffins at site in LuxorEgypt announces discovery of ancient coffins at site in Luxor


I am dating a lovely guy. However, he seems really awkward about being naked in front of me.Sex File: Boyfriend keeps his T-shirt on during sex

To instantly power up your look, veer towards the hard shoulder.Bold shoulder: How to instantly power up your look

Plums are a wonderful autumn fruit, useful for all sorts of recipes both sweet and savoury. In Ireland we are blessed with wonderfully sweet plums.Currabinny Cooks: Juicy plums work for both sweet and savoury dishes

The rise of home skincare devices doesn't mean that salons and clinics no longer serve a purpose.The Skin Nerd: Don’t try this at home — new treatments in the salon

More From The Irish Examiner