Ethiopia’s government declared a state of emergency in the northern Amhara region, where fighting between government forces and a rebel group erupted earlier this week.
(Bloomberg) — Ethiopia’s government declared a state of emergency in the northern Amhara region, where fighting between government forces and a rebel group erupted earlier this week.
The nation’s Council of Ministers approved the decision after a request by the regional Amhara government to intervene against the Fano militia, which has resisted government efforts to disarm them, according to a statement.
“The unlawful movement in the Amhara region, supported by armed struggle, has reached a point where it cannot be effectively controlled through regular law-enforcement measures,” the council said. “This movement is significantly disrupting the social and economic activities of the regional residents and posing a threat to the constitutional order. The danger it poses to the country’s security and the peace of its people is intensifying day by day.”
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The Fano militia — a group that allied with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during his administration’s two-year war with rebels in the Tigray region — has fought with government forces since the state announced in April it would integrate all regional special forces either into the national army or the police force. The conflict in Tigray, which ended in November 2022, curbed economic output and delayed plans by the government to restructure up to $28.2 billion of debt.
Ethiopia’s $1 billion of eurobonds due in 2024 rose 0.35 cents to 68.68 cents on the dollar by 1:14 p.m. in London.
Fighting around Lalibela in Amhara forced the closure of the airport in the tourist town. Ethiopian Airlines suspended flights from Addis Ababa, the national capital, on Aug. 1.
On Tuesday, army spokesman Getnet Adane said the military would take action against the Fano for disturbing the peace, and on Wednesday the state-owned Ethiopian Broadcast Corp. cited Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen as saying the security problems in Amhara region were on increasing concern.
Gizachew Muluneh, a spokesman for the Amhara region, didn’t respond to requests for comment sent by text message.
Amhara accounts for about a third of the farm output in Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous nation. It’s also the source of the Blue Nile, one of the main tributaries of the Nile River.
–With assistance from Jeremy Diamond.
(Updates with comment by council of ministers in third paragraph)
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