Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed reveals for the first time how doing press-ups with soldiers on a mission to kill him saved his life

The prime minister has in the past mentioned that there are "forces" who do not agree with the changes that he is making.

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  • On Thursday, during a question-and-answer session at Parliament Mr. Abiy told Members of Parliament that some of the soldiers who entered the grounds of his office last week had the intention of killing him.
  • 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.
  • Since coming into office in April Mr. Abiy has made some major reforms including freeing thousands of political prisoners, unbanning some outlawed groups and making peace with long-time foe Eritrea.

On Thursday, during a question-and-answer session at Parliament Mr. Abiy told Members of Parliament that some of the soldiers who entered the grounds of his office last week had the intention of killing him and were it not for his quick thinking and tact he would be dead by now.

"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,” Mr Abiy told the MPs.

Mr. Abiy who was later seen laughing with the soldiers after the incident said that "inside I was very unhappy" but he had to defused the situation by ordering them to do press-ups and joining in.

"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,"

Since coming into office in April Mr. Abiy has made some major reforms including freeing thousands of political prisoners, unbanning some outlawed groups and making peace with long-time foe Eritrea, said he was "angry and frustrated" and 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 the MPs.

He added that he feared that a conflict would break out as "young people… were marching towards Addis Ababa to engage in war".

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.

The situation caused alarm, leading to road closures in the area and the internet to be shut off for hours.

Last month, Ethiopian prosecutors charged five suspects with terrorism over an attempt to kill Mr Abiy in a grenade attack at a rally in June.

He escaped uninjured and described the attack at the time as an "unsuccessful attempt by forces who do not want to see Ethiopia united".​

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