Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said that some of the soldiers who entered the grounds of his office last week had wanted to kill him.
At the time, he defused the situation by ordering them to do press-ups and joining in.
Mr Abiy and the soldiers were seen laughing but he told parliament that “inside I was very unhappy”. Over the past six months, he has made some major reforms and he said some of the troops wanted to derail them.
“The march of some members of the army to the National Palace [the prime minister’s office] was not only unlawful but very dangerous, because the intention was to abort the ongoing reforms,” Mr Abiy told MPs during a question-and-answer session.
“Meanwhile, after the situation was brought under control, some forces were heard saying: ‘He escaped before we could kill him.'” On 10 October, several hundred protesting soldiers, some of them armed, went to see the prime minister – reportedly to demand a pay rise.
Mr Abiy told the MPs that without the order to do the press-ups, “the whole issue would have escalated… Some people see the push-ups we did as very casual. But, we used it to pacify the situation.
“In the military, push-ups or doing some kind of exercise or talking loudly are some of the measures used to relieve grievances or emotions.”