Seare Mekonnen, the chief of staff of the Ethiopian army has been killed by his own bodyguard in the capital, Addis Ababa.
He died and 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.