Fano leader reportedly gave in through mediation

Mesafint Tesfu reportedly agreed to end his armed Fano movement. Government committed to provide security protection

Fano Leader _ Mesafint Tesfu
Fano leader, Mesafint Tesfu, speaking in an event organized in Gondar over a year ago. Photo : social media

April 23, 2020

The mediation effort to convince the leader of the Fano movement to end his armed activity  in Amhara regional state of Ethiopia is bearing fruit finally.  

Amhara Mass Media Agency (AMMA) reported on Thursday that Mesafint Tesfa, the leader, has reached an agreement with government authorities to end his armed activity. Fifteen other members of the Fano group gave in along with him. 

Worku Lemlemu, head of central Gonder zone, is cited as saying that the process leading to the agreement caused no casualty.  

Much of the details of the agreement between authorities in the region and Arbegna Mesafint is unclear. However, Mr. Work said that the regional government has committed itself to provide  Mesafint with security protection. 

The government has been criticized by some activists from the region and by the National Movement of Amhara (NaMA) for deploying forces against the Fano movement. Some went to the extent of claiming that the government intended to do away with the Fano structure in the region. 

However, the government denies it saying that the accusation is meant to paint the government in a negative light. It rather describes the military activity in the central Gondar region as a move to enforce the rule of law. Some elements exploited the Fano movement, regional authorities argued,  as a shield while engaging in kidnappings and robbery – among other illegal practices. 

Fano as an armed movement has roots in Ethiopian history whenever the sovereignty of  Ethiopia was challenged by foreign invaders.  The movement got a rebirth in northwestern Ethiopia about three years ago as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) dominated federal government moved to deepen repression following widespread protest movements across the country.

Some political pundits argue that the downfall of TPLF as the master of the Federal government would not have happened without armed resistance from the Fano movement. 

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