Seare Mekonnen, the chief of staff of the Ethiopian army has been killed by his own bodyguard in the capital, Addis Ababa.
The chief of staff died while trying to prevent a coup attempt against the administration in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara region, alongside another officer.
The coup plotters also succeeded in killing regional governor of Amhara, Ambachew Mekonnen and his adviser.
The government says the situation is under control after arrests were made.
The prime minister, Abiy Ajmed has gone on TV to urge Ethiopians to unite in the face of “evil” forces set on dividing the country.
Since coming to power in April last year, Abiy has pushed to open up the once isolated, security-obsessed country. His government has released political prisoners, removed bans on political parties and prosecuted officials accused of gross human rights abuses.
However, ethnic violence, long held in check by the state’s iron grip, has flared up in many areas, including Amhara, where the regional government was led by Ambachew Mekonnen.
Residents in Amhara’s capital Bahir Dar said late Saturday there was gunfire in some neighborhoods and that some roads had been closed off.