Alemnew Mekonnen’s bodyguard: Murder or Suicide?

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Anwar Mohamed, the bodyguard of the vice president of the Amhara regional government, Alemnew Mekonnen, was found dead in his hotel room, Greenland Hotel, located in the centre of Bahir Dar in mysterious circumstances. The U.S.-based Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio (ESAT) reported that it was a politically motivated murder, which also targeted Alemnew himself. However, the Amhara regions’ communication affaires office in a Facebook post dismissed it “a media propaganda” and labelled it as suicide. The death is being investigated as a suicide.
The Amhara National Democratic Movement office head Alemnew, who sits on the EPRDF executive committee, is a controversial figure who has a history of making controversial statements, including his infamous label of the Amhara people that he claims to represent as “ultra-chauvinists” and “barefoot pedestrians.” Alemnew, who also is the board director of the Bahir Dar University, is said to be more powerful than the president of the region, Degu Andargachew, who according to some reports is increasingly side-lined by the Tigrayan dominated ruling regime. Alemnew, who is originally from the town of Kobo and took part in the armed struggle in Tigray region is said to be closer to the Tigray elites but not generally appreciated in the Amhara region. The late bodyguard Anwar himself is from Kobo, who is childhood friend of Alemnew, where news of his death has shocked residents of the town. Anwar’s friends and family reportedly said Anwar never hinted at suicide and they argued that he was either murdered (and it made to “look” like a “suicide”), or was hounded into taking his own life by heartless agents.
EAST also reported that the police chief in the region, Commander Assefa Ashebe resigned because of this incident, a claim also contested by the regions’ communication affaires office. The office says Assefa was transferred to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission Bahir Dar Branch by his own will.

Arefayné Fantahun
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