News: Amhara region breathes sigh of relief as major cities return to routine

Major urban areas in the Amhara region, including Debre Berhan, have experienced a progressive return to normalcy after a recent spell of conflict (Debre Berhan City Communication/Facebook)

Addis Abeba – Numerous urban centers within Ethiopia’s Amhara region are witnessing a gradual restoration of normalcy following a recent period of conflict.

Inhabitants of cities such as Gondar and Debre Birhan have observed a notable improvement in their localities, signifying a reduction in hostilities and a move towards peace.

The command post responsible for overseeing the state of emergency in Debre Berhan and its vicinity had instituted a prohibition on Bajaj vehicles effective 05 January, 2023, due to apprehensions regarding security. Nevertheless, a subsequent proclamation from the command post has indicated that this interdiction was rescinded on 10 January.

Consequently, operators of Bajaj vehicles have been granted permission to resume their services in designated shifts between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., reflecting a positive development in the region’s security conditions.

Residents bear witness to the restoration of regularity in daily life. A Bajaj vehicle operator in Debre Birhan has expressed, “We have commenced our job yesterday, and the city has returned to its previous calm.”

The current tranquility succeeds a phase of turbulence, during which inhabitants reported episodes of exchange of gunfire between state security forces and armed factions. An individual residing in Debre Birhan city communicated to Addis Standard, stating, “Last week, on Wednesday, the city experienced a crossfire between government forces and armed groups.”

“The exchange of fire began in the morning and continued sporadically until the evening,” the resident recounted.

Another inhabitant, who requested anonymity, disclosed to Addis Standard that within the vicinity of the Debire Birhan Selassie Church, a trio of fatalities occurred. The deceased comprised a taxi operator and two security personnel affiliated with the ruling party’s municipal office in Debre Birhan. Nevertheless, the informant expressed apprehensions regarding the potential existence of further occurrences that have gone unrecorded.

In a related account, a resident of Gondar, who preferred to remain unnamed, conveyed to Addis Standard that during the weekend, which aligned with Ethiopia’s Christmas festivities, the city found itself entangled in hostilities between government troops and the non-state armed group, Fano.

The same resident elaborated that hostilities commenced on the previous Saturday morning in a locality referred to as Kebele 12, situated on the periphery of the city. The intensity of the conflict escalated by the afternoon and into the subsequent day, extending towards the urban core.

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He also disclosed that the use of substantial armaments led to civilian fatalities, as well as destruction to residential properties and public infrastructure.

Another local from Gondar reported a grievous event that transpired during the Ethiopian Christmas celebrations on Sunday. In this incident, a woman and her sibling sustained fatal injuries within their home in the Kebele 18 district, as a consequence of heavy artillery fire initiated by government forces.

Despite the unsettling occurrences, both individuals indicated that the city has subsequently reverted to a condition of normality, with critical services including financial institutions and medical facilities reinstating functions.

Although intracity transportation is operational, it was observed that transit into and out of the city remains non-existent.

On 09 January, the command post of Gondar city issued a statement declaring that an armed faction endeavored to infiltrate two urban and one rural kebele with the intention of disturbing the festival. The announcement conveyed that the circumstances were addressed and contained through a collaborative effort.

Bayuh Abuhai, deputy mayor of Gondar and deputy chairman of the city’s command post, stated that tranquility has been reestablished in the region as a result of the collaborative endeavors between the Ethiopian National Defense Force and the security apparatus. AS

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