Fano militia forces withdrew from Lalibela town in North Ethiopia on Thursday as government soldiers recaptured it after a day under the control of the militia forces.
EVN Ethiopia spoke to residents from Lalibela who confirmed the news. According to the report, casualties on the part of Ethiopian government troops were heavy. The hospital in the town is said to be “full” of wounded soldiers. There were reported casualties on the part of Fano militias as well, but the number is unspecified.
Most parts of Lalibela town came under Fano forces on Wednesday following intense fighting that lasted for hours. Government soldiers retained control over the airport, which is located a few kilometers outside of the town.
Ethiopian Airlines suspended flights to and from Lalibela, and as of now, the flights have not resumed.
Fano forces have reportedly managed to set prisoners free from the prison facility in the town.
The Ethiopian government has not made any remarks about the situation in Lalibela.
Residents have been expressing concern for the safety of the 12th-century rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, as government forces heavily relied on artillery shelling in the fight against Fano forces. His Grace Abune Ermias, archbishop of North Wollo, has confirmed that the churches are in great danger, as reported by Addis Maleda.
Abiy Ahmed’s administration declared a six-month-long state of emergency in August to intensify military operations against Fano forces in the Amhara region. Initially, the plan was to complete the operation within two weeks.
Four months after the operation, there is still military operation in the region. Reports from local sources indicate that Fano forces are fighting a tactical battle and have stretched government forces across the region. All zones in the region are experiencing fighting between Fano and Ethiopian government forces.
Human Rights organizations have been reporting widespread rights abuses in the region by government soldiers, including extrajudicial killings and drone attacks targeting civilians.
Internet has been shut down in the region for nearly six months now.
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