Ethiopia’s government on Friday declared a state of emergency in its second-largest region, Amhara, following days of clashes between the military and local Fano militiamen. The announcement comes as fighting across Ethiopia’s second most populous region develops into a security crisis.
Amhara’s regional government on Thursday requested additional help from federal authorities to reimpose order. In a letter to Ethiopia’s prime minister, the regional authorities asked the government to take “appropriate measures” that the disturbances are “causing serious economic, social and humanitarian damage”.
The state of emergency allows, among other things, for roadblocks to be established, transport services to be disrupted, curfews to be imposed, and for the military to take over in certain areas. Mobile internet remained down in the region, residents said. Ethiopian Airlines had cancelled flights to three of the four airports it flies to in Amhara, an airline spokesperson told Reuters news agency.
Fano, a part-time militia with no formal command structure, backed federal troops in a two-year civil war in the neighboring Tigray region that ended with a truce last November. But the relationship has soured over what some in the region say is a disregard by the national government for Amhara’s security.
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