Ethiopia’s Council of Ministers has announced a state of emergency in the country’s Amhara region as clashes between regional forces and the military escalate. The decision was made in response to pleas for help from local authorities who acknowledged that regular law enforcement was unable to contain the violence. The declaration requires approval from Parliament and is motivated by the increasing threat to national security, public peace, and severe economic damage caused by armed extremist groups.
The Amhara region, Ethiopia’s second most populous region, has been experiencing instability since April. This followed efforts by federal authorities to disarm Amhara’s security forces in the aftermath of a two-year war in the neighboring Tigray region. Additionally, last year saw attempts to dismantle the informal Amhara militia known as Fano.
In recent days, reports have emerged of ongoing fighting in various parts of the Amhara region. Militia members have attacked army units, while protesters have blocked roads. Flights to tourist towns Lalibela and Gondar have been suspended, and internet access has also been affected.
A state of emergency typically entails restrictions on movement and increased powers of detention.