second phase underway
The Ethiopian government has announced that the first phase of its law enforcement operation in the Amhara region has been successfully completed. The general command formed to oversee the implementation of the state of emergency said the second phase of the military operation against Amhara Fano militants has now begun.
The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) has swiftly taken control of contested areas in the Amhara region that were engulfed in conflict with Amhara Fano militants two weeks ago. The recent fighting had cut off air transport links to the region, but the ENDF said its swift action has now allowed these links to restart.
Flights to cities in northern Ethiopia, including Lalibela, Gondar, Bahir Dar and Kombolicha, have resumed, despite earlier fears that the conflicts could disrupt travel following the Ethiopian government’s declaration of a state of emergency last month.
The details of the second phase of the operation have not been disclosed, but the general command indicated it will continue efforts to stabilize the region and ensure security. The Amhara region had seen rising tensions and clashes in recent weeks involving Amhara Fano groups and other militias.
The Ethiopian Parliament is set to convene this coming Monday to vote on whether to endorse the state of emergency, which, according to Ethiopia’s constitution, requires parliamentary approval within two weeks of the Council of Ministers’ decision in order to remain in effect.
“The cities are free from the extremist bandit group and peace has been fully restored, thanks to the support provided by communities,” Legesse Tulu, head of Government Communication Service, said.
The precise death toll as a result of the conflict has not yet been released, but ACLED, a disaggregated data collection, analysis, and crisis mapping project, recorded nearly 30 clashes between the ENDF and Fano militias last week, with most concentrated in North Wello and West Gojam zones.
Legesse said there were civilian casualties and robbery during the conflict in Amhara region, pledging the extent of the damage would be disclosed.
“The group [Fano militia] has now retreated to heritage and religious places,” he added.
Last week, the International Commission of Human Rights Experts under the United Nations called on all sides to respect human rights and take steps to deescalate the situation and prioritize efforts towards a peaceful resolution of differences.
On August 11, 2023, the governments of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the US also expressed their concern over the violence in the Amhara and Oromia regions, which has resulted in civilian deaths and instability.
“We encourage all parties to protect civilians, respect human rights, and to work together to address complex issues in a peaceful manner. The international community continues to support the goal of long-term stability for all Ethiopians,” they said.