In a press statement, the airline said it has canceled planned weekend flights to the cities of Dessie, Gonder, and Lalibela in the turbulent northern Ethiopian region.
It will be ready to serve the customers who bought weekend tickets to the three cities when the flights resume, the airline said.
The cancellation of flights to Ethiopia’s second most populous region means that the regional capital, Bahir Dar, is currently the only city in Amhara with an air link.
Earlier on Friday, the Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency in the Amhara region amid ongoing clashes between the government military and local militiamen known as Fano.
The fighting that broke out earlier this week has quickly become Ethiopia’s most serious security crisis since a two-year civil war in Tigray region, which neighbours Amhara, ended in November.
On Wednesday, Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen described the ongoing security situation in the region as “concerning” and called for a peaceful resolution of the conflicts.
Two residents of Amhara’s second-biggest city, Gondar, told Rueters on Friday that intense fighting took place the previous day near the university.
Residents of Gondar, Amhara’s second-biggest city, told Reuters that intense fighting took place near the university on Friday. One resident said that the government forces had initially taken control of the university, but were pushed back by Fano.
The other resident, a local official, said that the military had pulled back from the university but did not say why. Both residents asked not to be named for security reasons.
A Fano member told Reuters that the militiamen were trying to encircle Bahir Dar, Amhara’s capital. He said that they had captured Merawi, a town 30 kilometers south of Bahir Dar.
The Fano and Amhara’s regional security forces played leading roles supporting the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) during the civil war with the neighbouring Tigray region.
In several Amhara towns, government officials have fled and the internet has been cut. Ethiopia’s Center for the Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD) has confirmed that the internet shutdown is happening in many localities of the region.
US expresses concerns over situation in Amhara, Oromia
On Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on advancing peace, prosperity, and stability in Ethiopia.
Blinken noted progress in implementing the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in northern Ethiopia and expressed concern regarding the situations in the Amhara and Oromia Regions.
Both parties The Secretary and Prime Minister discussed establishing a humanitarian aid distribution system with strengthened oversight to meet the shared goal of restarting food aid as soon as possible.