Government intention when it declared a state of emergency in August was to end the fighting in the Amhara region of Ethiopia within two weeks
Barely less than a week after the Abiy Ahmed led Federal government made another claim saying normalcy is restored in most parts of the Amhara region, credible local news outlets are reporting continued fighting between Fano forces and the Defense Force.
In Gojjam, both East and West zones, the fighting has been going on for three days in a row. Fano forces have reportedly controlled several towns and the Défense Force has reportedly suffered defeats. Unspecified number of government soldiers are taken captives.
Central Gondar, North Shoa, North and South Wollo areas have experienced fighting too.
Residents in different parts of the region have confirmed it for local media outlets. Media outlets like the BBC have also covered the story.
Quarit in West Gojjam was one the areas where there was intense fighting. A resident who identified himself as “Abebe ” , for fear of reprisal, told BBC Amharic that government soldiers opened fire about four days ago with the aim to control the Centre of the district. The fighting continued for the fourth day. BBC said that the fighting was underway while it was speaking to the eyewitness on the phone.
As was the case in the past in many areas of the region, government soldiers extensively used heavy weaponry.
Residents said that the Defense Force was shelling areas indiscriminately – on the way targeting non-military targets. Mr. “Abebe” also said that the fighting has created a serious crisis. Residential areas and civilian institutions are damaged. However, he said he is unable to quantify the extent of the damage. There had been several fighting in the area in the past few months and the Ethiopian Defense Force had carried out recurring drone strikes in the zone.
In East Gojjam, there has been intense fighting in some districts. The story has been covered by local media outlets. BBC Amharic service has confirmed it from local residents. In Bibugne district, there was a battle to take control of Dego Tsion for the several days. Melaku Bishaw has confirmed to the source that the fighting between Fano and government soldiers continued on Tuesday. Heavy weaponry extensively used on the part of government soldiers.
On Monday this week, five civilians were reportedly seriously wounded from an artillery shelling that is said to be from Mota direction. It is hit a Kinbulaw Meda where several residents of the town were gathered for an occasion related to bereavement – as in the tradition in the region. Bibugne district has been under Fano forces since July of this year.
In Ankober, North Shoa government forces launched a military operation supported by combat helicopter and drone attack. This area is within a range of less than 100 kilometers to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Dozens of civilians are believed to have been injured or dead. A resident who spoke to the source on condition of anonymity said that the fighting started on Sunday. Many civilians from Aliyu Amba, Haramba and Derebo localities have been injured as the result of the airstrike. Attack on a school in the area has killed many civilians including teachers, eyewitnesses have confirmed to BBC Amharic on condition of anonymity. Menth and Antsokia areas, also in North Shoa, are also experiencing fighting between Fano and government forces.
In Wollo, Lalibela, one of the major tourist attractions in the country, has seen a heavy fighting between Fano and the Ethiopian government soldiers. There are concerns for the safety of the UNESCO recognized historical site as government forces are extensively using artillery shelling and other heavy weaponry. Reuters cited a deacon serving in one of the churches in Lalibela to report that on Sunday a heavy artillery was fired eleven times near the church. The shock from the heavy artillery firing could damage the 12th century Rock Hewn church, residents fear.
Wuchale, a historical city in south Wollo where a treaty was signed with the Italians in 1889, has experienced a righting. The town was under Fano forces for about two days. As of now, it is reported that government forces took it back.
In Central Gondar, Fano forces and Government soldiers have been fighting for the past few days. BBC Amharic has confirmed from residents about the fighting in Dembia.
Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has been calling for Abiy Ahmed led government to prioritize peaceful way of resolving the conflict in the region, not to target civilians and civilians institutions – a call that fell on deaf ears.
The Ethiopian government has not yet remarked about reports of continued fighting in the Amhara region- as has been the case for a long time. The region has been under a state of emergency since August this year.
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