Fano forces reportedly set free more than 600 prisoners after assaulting a prison facility in Woldia, in the North Wollo zone of the Amhara region.
According to the BBC Amharic service, residents from the city disclosed that the incident occurred during the night of Thursday, November 24/25.
The skirmish started around midnight and lasted for three hours with an exchange of gunfire, as detailed by Woldia residents who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons.
A reliable source linked to the prison confirmed that only three prison guards sustained injuries, with no reported fatalities. The source did not clarify the severity of the injuries. Additionally, Fano Forces briefly detained some prison guards, releasing them Friday morning.
While 600 prisoners were liberated, subsequent searches by prison authorities in the city led to the recapture of a few escapees.
Among the released prisoners are former members of the Amhara region’s special forces who were transferred from Bahir Dar, the regional capital, and youths arrested in connection with the Fano movement.
Despite the presence of Anti-Riot Police and Defense Force members in Woldia, reports from the area affirm their inability to prevent the Fano Forces’ assault on the prison facility.
Normalcy resumed on Friday, with businesses operating, and transportation services functioning.
The BBC Amharic highlighted the unsuccessful attempt to contact government authorities in the city.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration, earlier in the week, claimed to have restored peace in many areas across the Amhara region.
Authorities from the Amhara region, alongside the Defense Force, are engaging residents, seemingly seeking support in combating Fano Forces. There have been meetings in Lalibela and Bahir Dar – among other places in the region.
Fano forces are actively engaging government troops throughout the Amhara region, primarily in rural areas, reportedly controlling about two-thirds of the region. Video footage circulating on Social media reveals ongoing recruitment and training efforts by the Fano forces, backed by substantial political and logistical support from people in the region. This situation underscores the region’s ungovernability under the ruling Prosperity Party.
Fighting to counter existential threats against the ethnic Amhara group, subjected to several years of massacres in the Oromia and Benishangul Gumuz regions, and ending political, economic, and social repression, is the primary objective of the Fano forces. Their aim also encompasses liberating Ethiopians from repression from radical ethnic Oromo nationalists dominating the Ethiopian government.
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