After a week-long intensive armed clash between the volunteer Fano group and members of the Ethiopian Defense Force in several cities in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian government body that is in charge of implementing the state of emergency legislation on Thursday said that it has restored normalcy in the Amhara region.
It made claims that it “took measure” on armed rebels after the latter rejected calls “to lay down arms.” The statement the command post issued indicated that the measures taken so far are the culmination of what it calls the first phase of the state of emergency measures.
The statement from the Command Post called the Fano Movement in the Amhara region, which has evidently garnered extensive popular support in the region due to ruthless operation and massacre of ethnic Amhara in different parts of Ethiopia, as a group engaged in “robbery” and “destruction.”
It further said that the group was “given an opportunity to surrender and lay down arms” but it “did not use it and measure was taken.” What the government said connotes that Ethiopian Defense Force has annihilated the Fano in Bahir Dar, Gondar, Shewa Robit, Lalibela, and other towns in Gojam.
On the other hand, Ethiopian news outlets based in the diaspora, like Anchor Media, cited local residents in the Amhara region to report that Fano armed group made a strategic retreat after Ethiopian Defense Forces shelled cities with heavy weaponry. As many as 3000 civilians were reportedly massacred in Bahir Dar alone – according to the source but no other sources confirmed it. Similar ruthless massacres of civilians are reported in Gondar, Debre Berhan, Shewa Robit and Lalibela – among other areas.
The Ethiopian government did not disclose the number of casualties – from civilians, Fano rebels or the Ethiopian Defense Force.
In its statement, the Command Post further said that it has arrested 14 people in the capital Addis Ababa and it might continue to do so and make it public if necessary.
It is to be recalled that about 4000 residents of Addis Ababa, mostly ethnic Amhara, were arrested in Addis Ababa a day after the Ethiopian government announced a state of emergency regulation last week in connection with the Fano armed movement in the Amhara region.
Restrictions on motorbikes and bajaja (three-wheel vehicles) will remain in place while other city transport services are resuming service – it added. The return of public transport service providers as of Thursday is a mandatory one.
The Command Post also said that Ethiopian Airlines will resume service to Gondar and Bahir Dar starting – Thursday. It was suspended last week following the clash between Fano and Ethiopian Defense Force.
It said that it has ordered businesses and other public service-providing organizations to resume service as of Thursday, August 10, 2023. The directive will apply to Bahir Dar, Gondar, Debre Berhan, Debre Markos, Shewa Robit, and Lalibela.
The Command Post, whose director used to be the head of the Amhara region, has imposed a curfew in many of the cities mentioned above and will remain in place until August 22, 2023. No vehicles or movement of people are allowed to move after 7 p.m. local time.
Demonstrations and public gatherings are outlawed across cities in the Amhara region and no timeline is indicated for it.
It also banned carrying firearms. The only exceptions to it are law enforcement bodies.
Reports from local sources say the magnitude of massacre of civilians in the Amhara region is unprecedented since the Fascist Italy war on Ethiopia during the second world war. However, the story is not verified by independent sources.
The Ethiopian government shutdown internet and data service in the Amhara region about a week or so before it introduced a state of emergency. Contacting local residents by phone directly has become difficult.
Since Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, tens of thousands of ethnic Amharas have been massacred mainly in the Oromo and Benishangul Gumuz regions of Ethiopia. Now the massacre is shifting to the Amhara region itself.
The Ethiopian government made extensive military and political mobilizations for the military campaign in the Amhara region under the guise of implementing the state of emergency. Regional states were made to issue a statement supporting the military campaign.
After the infantry of the Ethiopian Defense Force reportedly suffered defeat, the government had to dispatch several rounds of the “republican guard” and reports indicate that Ethiopian Airlines planes were used to fly them to Bahir Dar – which was in a way the center of gravity in the recent development.
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