State of Emergency declared in Ethiopia
Tensions have been rising since April when the government announced plans to dismantle regional forces.
In a statement posted on social media, the office of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said, “It has become necessary to declare a state of emergency as a situation has emerged where it has become difficult to control this unacceptable movement under current law.” However, it was not explicitly stated if the state of emergency applied nationwide or only to Amhara, which lies to the north of the capital, Addis Ababa.
The recent clashes between the national army and local fighters have resulted in social and economic disruption in the region, leading the local authorities in Amhara to request assistance from the federal government to manage security.
Notably, Amhara’s regional forces and local militias had supported the national army in their two-year war against rebels from the neighboring region of Tigray.
Despite a peace deal being reached in November 2022, Amhara’s “special forces” and fighters from the Fano militia group continue to control Western Tigray, a fertile area that is claimed by both Tigray and Amhara.
Travel advisory within Ethiopia
In response to the escalating violence, foreign governments have issued travel warnings for certain parts of Amhara. The UK’s Foreign Office cautioned its citizens against traveling to these areas, pointing to “increased violence” and Fano’s control in some regions. Lalibela Airport, a prominent tourist destination, was reportedly taken over by Fano militias.
Similarly, the Spanish Embassy in Addis Ababa urged its nationals not to travel to Amhara due to the region’s instability. Ethiopian Airlines has also suspended flights to Lalibela and Gondar, adding to the growing concerns over safety and security in the area.