News: Fighting recommences in several cities of Amhara region after days of normalcy

Archive photo of Debre Markos city, East Gojjam zone (Photo: Debre Markos City Communication/Facebook)

Addis Abeba – After a period of relative calm, renewed clashes have erupted in several cities within the Amhara region, resulting in multiple fatalities and numerous injuries, residents told Addis standard.

A local resident in Finote Selam, West Gojjam zone, who prefers to remain anonymous, informed Addis Standard that the sounds of gunfire were audible from Friday through Monday, emanating from an area on the outskirts of the city referred to locally as “Gewocha.” This resident additionally revealed having witnessed deceased individuals strewn across the ground within this area.

Offering additional insight, Manaye Tenaw, the director of Finote Selam General Hospital, revealed to Addis Standard that the medical facility received three deceased individuals on Sunday. The director further conveyed the halting of vehicular movement both within and outside the city. “Although the roads to Bahir Dar had been accessible for a few days, allowing us to procure essential medical supplies and oxygen, they have once again been closed,” the director remarked. 

Another resident residing in Debre Markos city, East Gojjam zone informed Addis Standard that since Saturday, a sustained barrage of heavy gunfire has resonated throughout the urban area. The resident elaborated, “since Saturday, government forces have been deploying heavy weaponry from [the city’s] Nigus Teklehaymanot Square, prompting residents to evacuate their homes due to prevailing fears.”

The resident went on to describe the ongoing sounds of intense gunfire, which have continued since the early morning hours of Wednesday around an area known as Bole. Additionally, the resident disclosed, “it remains difficult to ascertain an exact count of fatalities, but I have personally observed deceased individuals positioned within ditches in the vicinity of Bole and the stadium area.”

Andualem Geremew, the Director of Debre Markos General Hospital, informed Addis Standard that since Friday, the hospital has admitted 29 injured individuals, of which 3 have tragically succumbed to their injuries. The Director also conveyed that the hospital is currently grappling with shortages in both medical supplies and blood reserves due to the obstruction of transportation routes.

Additionally, the Director conveyed an audible presence of heavy artillery throughout the city, and if this situation continues, “we may encounter circumstances where the viability of sustaining our medical operations becomes increasingly uncertain”.

On Tuesday, the BBC reported that hostilities commenced in Debre Tabor city, South Gondar zone over the weekend, pitting the Fano militias against government troops, with clashes persisting until Monday.

Furthermore, relying on witness accounts, the BBC indicated that substantial harm befell the city’s primary hospital due to intense shelling. A medical professional attached to the hospital informed the BBC that no fewer than five individuals, who were in the midst of visiting patients, along with over 20 civilians in proximity to the establishment, incurred injuries.

The UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner said “at least 183 people have been killed in clashes in Amhara region since July, and expressed its concerns over “considerably worsened situation,” since the declaration of a state of emergency on 04 August.

However, the command post established to oversee the six-months state of emergency in the region reiterated, in its latest statement on 26 August, that the region “has been relieved of the risk of destruction and disintegration and is returning to its previous state of normalcy”. The Command Post reaffirmed its commitment to finalize the ongoing “law enforcement operation” and create a conducive environment for the new regional administration.

Hostilities between the non-state Fano militia and government forces had significantly subsided following the declaration of a state of emergency in the region on 04 August. The decree was put in place in order to control the deteriorating security crisis in the region subsequent to a letter issued on 03 August by the former president of the regional state, Yelikal Kefale (PhD) requesting the federal government to intervene. AS

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