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Relative calm returns to historic Ethiopian city

Kalkidan Yibeltal
Thursday September 28, 2023

Lalibela, a Unesco world heritage site, saw violence last week but is now said to be calm

Relative calm has returned to the historic Amhara city of Gondar in north-western Ethiopia after intense urban combat between government forces and local militia fighters over the weekend.

Residents in the city have told the BBC some normal activities have resumed but tensions remain high with soldiers carrying out house-to-house searches looking for militia members.

The army says it has killed more than 50 members of the militia, known as Fano, during the fighting in the city on Sunday.

The militia denies this, saying they freed prisoners after entering the city.

The BBC has been unable to independently confirm the claims because of an ongoing internet shutdown. However, residents told BBC Amharic that the militia attacked two jails and freed detainees.

Fight has also halted in Lalibela, home to renowned 13th Century rock-hewn churches, and its surrounds, residents say.

However clashes are being reported along the main highway connecting the region’s two largest cities Gondar and Bahir Dar affecting transport.

In West Gojjam, an area in the region that has seen the fiercest clashes since August, the internet and phone lines are down - suggesting an escalation in fighting.


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