Tigray rebels took control of Lalibela city without any resistance from militia or special forces of the Amhara region
Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces reportedly raided the Lalibela town – a world heritage site of rock hewn churches from the 12th century.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Amharic service on Thursday said the rebel forces took control of Lalibela town in the afternoon.
Deputy mayor of the town, Mandefro Tadesse, confirmed that the Tigray rebels entered the city starting 1 p.m local time from the direction of Genete Mariam, as reported by BBC.
Residents from the town have also confirmed the story.
Lalibela town alone has 12 rock hewn churches that were built during the reign of emperor Lalibela in 12 century. It is unclear if the Tigray rebel forces damaged the churches after they took control of the city.
However, the Deputy mayor said that there was no fighting when they entered the town. Estimates of the number of rebel forces that entered Lalibela are unspecified.
From experiences in the past few months, the TPLF forces engage in looting, including financial institutions, rape and summary executions soon after they take control of a town, as demonstrated in Korem and Alamata.
So far, it is unclear if they did that in Lalibela.
The narrative from Amhara regional state communication office says the TPLF forces that entered Lalibela were on the run after it suffered defeat in Sanka, Ala Wuha and Hara areas of the North Wollo area.
Sanka and Alawuha are less than 100 kilometers from Woldia city – a city that managed to defend itself despite relentless effort by Tigray rebel forces.
According to government authorities and other sources, the Ethiopian Defense Force didn’t take part in the fighting around Sanka an Ala Wuha region.
It was the militia and the special forces of the region that were engaging the TPLF forces, who were on the run in most parts of North Wollo, in those areas.