Update on Developments in Ethiopia - May 04, 2023
Amhara Resistance and the Abiy Regime’s Military Operation
The Amhara Association of America (AAA) has verified that on May 4th, 2023, the Abiy regime intensified its war on Amhara. The regime has deployed the Oromo dominated Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) to various parts of Amhara Region as part of a “law enforcement operation” to disarm Amhara Special Forces and Fano (volunteer, non state militias). Since the start of the operation, there have been mounting reports of human rights violations and mass arrests.
Five days earlier, Sisay Melkamu, former vice-president of the Amhara Student Association (ASA) and an M.A. student at the Blue Nile College in Bahir Dar, was arrested in Gondar. Sisay’s whereabouts have been unknown to his family.
Protests have continued in various cities in Amhara Region including Gonder city. Roads have been closed all day from Gonder to Debark.
In Gonder, protests were held against occupying ENDF and in response, the army shot and injured at least three youth. At nightfall, an army contingent was then attacked by Fano in front of Fasil Campus.
Fighting between ENDF and Fano forces took place in various parts of the North Shewa Zone of Amhara Region.
– Fighting in Shewa Robit resulted in casualties from both sides including ten ENDF soldiers and one Fano member. At nightfall, an entire army contingent/patrol defected in Shewa Robit. The army leaders lost control of the city and were reportedly panicking.
– Fano were able to take control of Debre Sina (North Shewa Zone) after day-long fighting.
– The ENDF shelled the Menber Maryam Monastery, located in Amba Wuha Kebele of Antsokiya Gemza Woreda. The ENDF did so using heavy machine guns, mortars and ZU-23.
On April 17th, 2023, the ENDF and Oromia Special Forces (OSF) arrested at least 8 Amhara civilians in the Tulu Gana town of Abe Dongoro Woreda (Horo Guduru Wollega Zone, Oromia Region).
– Arrests followed a massacre on April 14th, 2023 carried out by Oromo Liberation Army militants which claimed the lives of 19 Amhara residents, mostly civilians including 22-year-old Alemayew Yirdaw and 20-year-old Abol Tatek. The conflict subsided after local elders intervened to mediate, however soon after the ENDF and OSF returned to disarm the residents.
– Over 125 legally registered firearms were confiscated. No such disarmament was carried out against non-Amharas, in fact, local Qeerro (ultranationalist youth) were receiving a months-long military training from the Anger Gutin town administration in East Wollega Zone.
– At least eight residents were subsequently arrested on April 17th, 2023