Mobile Internet Access Down and Flights Cancelled in Ethiopia’s Amhara Region Due to Clashes

Mobile Internet Access Down and Flights Cancelled in Ethiopia’s Amhara Region Due to Clashes

Mobile internet access was not available in parts of Ethiopia’s Amhara region, and flights to two cities were cancelled following clashes between the federal military and local militiamen. The Fano militia and federal authorities, who were allies during the civil war in the neighboring Tigray region, have been engaged in a feud, which has escalated this week.

According to a diplomatic source, the military conducted an operation to remove Fano fighters from certain areas, which triggered the fighting. Ethiopia’s deputy prime minister, Demeke Mekonnen, expressed concern about the situation.

Residents in Amhara’s capital, Bahir Dar, and its second-largest city, Gondar, reported that mobile internet services were unavailable on Thursday. Internet shutdowns have been a common occurrence in Ethiopia during periods of conflict and civil unrest.

Authorities in Ethiopia have not provided any comments regarding the situation. Ethiopian Airlines announced the suspension of flights from Addis Ababa to Gondar and the holy town of Lalibela, where there has also been fighting.

Fighting has taken place in several cities and towns throughout the week. The Fano militia, which operates without a formal command structure, has experienced a deteriorating relationship with federal authorities due to concerns over regional security.

In April, violent protests erupted in Amhara after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the integration of security forces from Ethiopia’s regions into the police or national army. Some in Amhara viewed this order as an attempt to weaken the region, while the federal government maintained that it aimed to ensure national unity.

The ongoing clashes have led to disruptions in communication and transportation services, affecting the daily lives of residents in the Amhara region.