Ethiopia’s government Friday declared a state of emergency in Amhara, resulting from ongoing clashes between military and local Fano militiamen. This came in the form of a press release issued by the office of the prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.
The press release outlined a recent Council of Ministers resolution. It noted that the Amhara region is unable to quell what was described as illegal action being taken by armed forces. They believe this has endangered peace, security of the people, law and order and has jeopardised the constitutional system.
Speaking on what they described as “armed extremist groups,” the council noted that the region has suffered a lot of damage, including human, social and economic damage, which echoes comments made by Amhara regional president Yilkal Kefale in a letter sent Thursday. The council relied on its powers under Article 93 of the Ethiopian Constitution as a basis for this declaration.
This declaration comes in the wake of previous attempts to disband the regional Amhara militia, called the Fano, and to absorb its members into the national army. The Fano gained popularity among Amhara citizens following its leading role in the civil war, which involved the nearby Tigray region.
In response to military units in the region, protesters have put up roadblocks, Fano has clashed with the military and the region has seen undetermined numbers of casualties. Reuters reports that this six-month emergency will empower the Ethiopian government to impose curfews, restrict movement and ban public gatherings.