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VOA Amharic - Residents said people have died following conflict in Gonder

Disclaimer: This is an English translation of an Amharic report taken from VOA Amharic and is intended solely for information purposes.

VOA Amharic - Residents said people have died following conflict in Gonder

Monday, January 8, 2023 (Tahasass 30, 2016 EC)

Aster Misganaw

At the end of last week fighting took place between Fano fighters and government security forces in Gonder city and surrounding areas of Amhara Region and residents who spoke to VOA said, “an unknown number of civilians were killed”.

Since Friday, heavy fire exchanges have been reported by residents in areas surrounding the city called Ayeba and Fenqit, and in areas within the city including Desalegn, Hidasae and Shewa Dabo.

One resident of Kebele 18 in Gonder city who opted to remain anonymous to protect their identity, said there was exchange of fire between government security forces and Fano militants on two fronts surrounding the city since Friday of last week and lasting up to yesterday, Sunday. 

Afterwards, the gunfire exchange entered the city and civilians were killed.

Another resident from an area called Shewa Dabo who also opted for anonymity for similar reasons said the gunfire in the area caused “our neighbors and other civilians to be killed.”

Efforts to contact police and Gonder University Hospital for additional information on the extent of casualties were unsuccessful.

Residents said normal activity still had not returned to Gonder city since conflict began at the end of last week.

The recent fighting had taken place during preparations to celebrate the Gena and Timket holidays. The city and regional administrations had said “necessary” preparations had been made to celebrate the annual Timket holiday in Gonder city.

Recently, state media had broadcasted remarks from Amhara Region Police Deputy Commissioner and the Commission’s Criminal Prevention Department head Commissioner Eniyew Zewde who said, “peace has been established allowing for the celebration of the holiday.”

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has previously issued multiple statements warning of civilians’ safety being endangered due to ongoing conflict between government forces and Fano militants in various cities and surrounding areas of Amhara Region.

The commissioner issued a statement last Hedar 2016 EC (November - December 2023) saying, “civilians, their property, and public infrastructure should not be targets.”

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