Ethiopia accuses Amhara militia of plotting government overthrow


A high-ranking Ethiopian official has accused the Amhara militia of attempting to overthrow both the regional and federal governments. The accusation comes in the wake of days of intense fighting, leading authorities to declare a state of emergency in the region.

The clashes between Fano militiamen and the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) have persisted over the weekend, with residents in Gondar, Amhara’s second-largest city, reporting heavy weapons fire that continued into Monday morning.

This conflict marks Ethiopia’s most serious security crisis since the conclusion of the two-year civil war in the neighboring Tigray region back in November. Temesgen Tiruneh, the director-general of Ethiopia’s national intelligence service and overseer of the state of emergency enforcement, revealed that militia fighters have managed to seize control of certain towns and districts.

Temesgen stated that the “robbery force” aims to forcibly overthrow the regional government and subsequently make advances into the federal system. The allegations were broadcasted by the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting late on Sunday.

As a result of the state of emergency declaration, the security services now possess the authority to impose curfews, restrict movement, prohibit the carrying of weapons and sharp objects, ban public gatherings, and conduct arrests and searches without warrants.

In response to the unrest, government spokesperson Legesse Tulu announced on Saturday that they have already begun arresting individuals believed to be behind the ongoing disturbances.

Fano, initially an ally of the ENDF during the Tigray War, is a part-time militia comprising volunteers from the local population. However, their relationship soured, partly due to federal authorities’ recent attempts to weaken regional paramilitary groups. Activists argue that this has left the Amhara region susceptible to attacks from neighboring regions.

Back in April, Amhara witnessed violent protests after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the disbandment of security forces from Ethiopia’s 11 regions and their integration into the police or national army. Protesters accused the government of undermining Amhara’s security, but the government asserted that the move was necessary to ensure national unity.

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