A new ‘Republican Guard’ has been created in Ethiopia responsible for protecting government officials, months after an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Members of the new Republican Guard (RG) unit began training six months ago for “protecting higher government officials and their family, from any form of aggression by ill-intentioned forces”, said the PM office. 

The formation of the RG followed over an attempt to kill Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in a grenade attack at a rally on June 23, 2018.

The attack in the capital, Addis Ababa, killed two people and injured more than 100, but Abiy was unharmed.

The prime minister was whisked away immediately after the blast.

He described the attack at the time as an “unsuccessful attempt by forces who do not want to see Ethiopia united”.

On Sunday, Abiy presided over a demonstration by the Republican Guard which exercised, said his office, “its readiness in thwarting off any form of aggressions”.

Officials said the special troops the unit will be “equipped with highly trained security materials to effectively perform” their duties.

Ethiopia had an Imperial Guard during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, but that military unit was disbanded after he was ousted in an army coup in September 1974.

A recent upsurge in the number of ethnic confrontations in Addis Abeba and of clashes in remote regions has aroused fears that the second most populous nation in Africa after Nigeria faces renewed violence. (Daily Monitor)