Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says the country's defence chief of staff has been shot following unrest in the northern Amhara region.
Appearing on TV dressed in military fatigues, Mr Abiy also said several officials had been killed in an attack in the Amhara regional capital Bahir Dar.
Earlier the government said there had been an "attempted coup" in Amhara.
Reports say the internet is down in the country.
Residents in Bahir Dar reported hearing heavy gunfire.
The US state department said it was also aware of reports of gunfire in the national capital Addis Ababa.
Mr Ahmed was elected last year and has moved to end political repression in Ethiopia by releasing political prisoners, removing bans on political parties and prosecuting officials accused of rights abuses.
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But since he has come to power, ethnic violence has re-emerged and has left 2.4 million Ethiopians displaced, the UN says.
Mr Abiy said that Chief of Staff General Seare Mekonnen had been attacked by "mercenaries".
He did not give any details about his condition.
He also said that some officials in Amhara had been in a meeting when they were shot and killed "by their colleagues".
Mr Abiy's spokesman Negussu Tilahun earlier said that the coup plotters had attempted to oust Ambachew Mekonnen, the head of the Amhara regional government.
Efforts were under way to apprehend them, he said.
In a statement, the ruling party in Amhara accused a former security chief - who was released from jail after Mr Abiy came to power - of being behind the violence.
One lecturer in Bahir Dar told Reuters news agency the gunfire in the city lasted at least four hours.
"I first thought it was just a normal kind of incident and then we began to hear heavy gunfire," he said.
Events scheduled for Sunday have been cancelled, state TV said.
All the best. I'd hate to see my friend end up this way though...
Rasta man’s ‘wagwan’ jargon causes laughter, confusion during trial Crazy Monday By George Njunge and Yvonne Chepkwony 3 months ago
Edward Njeru Njue alias Ras Edu in court.
The trial of a Rasta man, complete with Rasta jargon, last Thursday at Nairobi’s Milimani courts goes a long way to prove how comical a court session can turn to be.
Edward Njeru Njue was arraigned and charged that on March 6, along Kirinyaga Road, Nairobi, he was found trafficking 20 rolls of bhang valued at Sh1,000.
When asked the language he would wish to use in court, Njeru said that he was good in Swahili, English and Gikuyu only break into Rasta slang during his trial. “Ni vile sikufika bei ya Babylonian cops wakanishikadem na kunivishadem bangili,” Njue answered during plea.
It took the intervention of the prosecution to digest the words which loosely translate to: “I was arrested by the police and hand-cuffed because I did not give a bribe.”
“Are you pleading guilty or not,” Principal Magistrate Hellen Onkwani asked. “I am guilty wagwan!” Njue answered.
Further prodded by the court on whether he uses the drug, the suspect responded: “Yeah-men, kama Rasta hii kitu ni Yes I.” (As a Rasta Bhang is allowed).
As the magistrate wrote down the proceedings, Ras Edu, as the suspect preferred to be addressed turned to a female court orderly and exclaimed: “Ahoy, sisteren, wewe ni mrembo vi-wagwan!” “What are you saying to the police,” the magistrate inquired. “Namshow ni mrembo videadly hakuna ngori (I have complemented her beauty, nothing sinister),” Njue replied to a thunderous laughter from the court gallery.
The magistrate asked the prosecution to deliver its stand in the case after Njue pleaded guilty. The prosecution, however, had no facts of the offence and had also not carried the exhibit to court, they asked the court to allow them to present the two substances in case today.
The court pushed the matter as asked by the prosecution and sent Njue to remand.
Before leaving the dock, Njue told the magistrate he had not eaten since he was arrested. “You are going to the Industrial Area remand facility where the state will provide for your breakfast, lunch and supper, is that okay?” posed the magistrate. “Fiti madam (that’s fine with me),” Njue said as he walked to the court cells from where he was ferried to the Industrial Area Remand awaiting the court’s verdict today. I went to police station drunk to celebrate birth of my twins, man tells court
In other news, how should one act at the birth of twins? This became a subject a Nakuru court was forced to rule on last week, after police charged a man with being drunk and disorderly.
Francis Mungai, 65, was charged that on March 4 he stormed Naishi police station in Njoro while drunk and disorderly. The court was told that Mungai stormed the station a few metres from his house to “celebrate” the birth of his twins.
“Your honour, I was very happy after receiving the news, I took some alcohol in the course of celebrating and went to police station to share the joy with them as they are my immediate neighbours,” said the remorseful suspect in Mitigation after pleading guilty.
“However, I think I took more alcohol, which prompted me to celebrate in a way police mistook to be disorderly.”
Mungai inquired from the magistrate, Joe Ominde: “Or how would a father have acted, mheshimiwa? The magistrate smiled. “We are all fathers and always happy with such news, you honour. Please pardon me so that I can go enjoy time with my two angels and wife,” said
The court freed him under caution: “Go home but if you commit any offences within a period of three months you will be arrested and convicted for both offences,” said the magistrate.