Government forces reportedly killed at least 20 youths in the town in extrajudicial killings
Heavy fighting is reported in Merawi town, only 35 kilometers from the Amhara region capital Bahir Dar.
Ethiopian Media Service cited credible sources to report that Fano Amhara Popular Front opened fire on Monday morning, targeting government forces on the outskirts of Merawi, in China Town locality.
Initially, the fighting was between Fano forces on one hand and newly recruited militia and anti-riot forces on the other. However, the Defense Force joined the fighting later.
Dozens of people are reportedly killed, but the exact figure is unspecified.
The source also reported that government forces made a house-to-house search in Merawi and executed at least 20 youths in the town. Bodies have been littered in the streets, according to an EMS report.
The Ethiopian government did not deny or confirm the latest military engagement as has been the case since the outset of its military campaign in the region. The Ethiopian government has been claiming that normalcy has been restored to the region after months of a state of emergency imposed in the region. However, reports from local sources confirm that fighting in different parts of the region is still underway.
There are indications that Fano combatant forces are growing in number in different parts of the region. Video footage Ethiopian publishers share on platforms like YouTube purportedly shows Fano leaders like Zemene Kassie making visits to different areas of the region where Fano Forces are operating to give instructions and hold meetings.
Meanwhile, Fano forces released a statement on Monday expressing a range of law enforcement measures in the areas that are under the control of Fano.
The statement warns armed groups to refrain from detaining or stopping vehicles unless they belong to the ruling party. Trucks carrying fertilizers and essential items should be given safe passage, it said. It also warned University students to take caution in the areas where there is a military operation. The Ethiopian government has been putting pressure on students to resume class.
Fano also warned business people not to exploit the situation in the region to engage in price gouging.
Recently, Fano has been making claims that its forces are growing, and it is creating a single command structure that unites the various Fano units operating in Gondar, Gojam, Shoa, and Wollo.
Most of the Amhara region of Ethiopia is said to be under the control of Fano forces.
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