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Bahir Dar Security situation ; Confirmed hours long battle between Fano, gov’t forces 

Bahir Dar City - Ethiopian News
Bahir Dar City – from the web

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On Thursday, Citizen report on social media indicated Fano forces captured Bahir Dar – seat of the Amhara regional state. As it turns out, it was rather an intense exchange of fire in the city between Fano forces and government soldiers. Fano did not fully take control of the city. 

DW Amharic service, on Friday, confirmed that there was a fighting in the city on Friday morning which lasted for several hours. It started around 6:00 a.m. and was going on until 10:00 a.m. Sound of heavy artillery was heard in the city, according to the source. Residents stayed in their homes and there was no movement in the city. The source cited a resident from the city as saying that residents were mostly restricted to their homes. 

All activities were halted in the city. Public servants did not go to work and schools in the city remained closed for the day. 

It is also confirmed, from local sources, that Ethiopian Airlines suspends flights to Bahir Dar on Friday although no explanation was given if it has something to do with the security situation in the city. 

The fighting was mostly in Kebele 14 locality – Abbay Mado. 

Ethiopian Media Service (EMS), on Friday, reported that it has confirmed from hospital sources in Bahir Dar  that at least 18 government forces have been killed. However, the full extent of the damage on human life and property is yet to be covered. The region is not accessible to independent journalists and human rights advocates because of the state of emergency. Fano forces have not released information regarding casualties on their part. 

There has been intense fighting in most parts of Gojjam – many of them close to Bahir Dar city – since Abiy Ahmed’s administration extended the state of emergency by four months. 

In addition to Bahir Dar and nearby areas, there are reports of fighting in parts of North Shoa and North Wollo. 

The Defense Force has been releasing news updates on its social media page making claims of decisive victory against Fano forces but an intense fighting that lasted for hours in Bahir Dar – as observed on Friday – does not seem to suggest that that gov’t is winning the battle. 

The government has been engaged in extensive community engagement in the region since just days after the Merawi Massacre where at least 45 civilians were extrajudicially massacred. Abiy Ahmed’s administration is also exploiting former special forces from the region and militia forces – apparently to minimize loss for the defense force and for strategic reasons to weaken the Fano movement which has demonstrated massive support from the region and beyond. The government intended to complete operations against Fano within two weeks when it introduced the state of emergency in August 2023. Now, there are indications that most parts of the Amhara region – especially in rural areas and rural towns – are under the sphere of influence of Fano forces. 

Meanwhile, regional and federal authorities on Thursday had a meeting in the capital Addis Ababa. Government wants their involvement in convincing fano forces to negotiate. 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Let’s say the rebel group has captured this capital city of the Amhara region as it was told here in a previous post. Then what? What the rebel group is going to do with it? This is a city of close to half a million(500,000) citizens. From what I heard about this group, it is not a cohesive fighting force. It is fragmented along regional and district affinity lines just like this gangster group Shane that has been wreaking havoc in Western Wallagaa. Again, what the rebel group is going to do with it if they had captured that large city? Will they be able to defend the city? What will the citizens gain from it? Is it going to be the same rounds of punitive acts by both sides with one coming to town and exact revenge on individuals it thinks working for the enemy? In any case, my heart goes out to the civilians living in that city.

  2. Is Bahir Dar captured or not? One story tells it is captured and at the same time we are told that another story tell us there was hours long battle in or around the city. Make up your mind. It looks somebody is sleepwalking with a story. Was this a story of the usual shoot-and-run incidence? 3 days have passed since we were told the city was captured by a group fighting the government. Who is in charge there now? Somebody is pulling our legs or trying to here.

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