The West Denbiya Woreda Council in Central Gonder Zone of Amhara regional state has confirmed reports of deadly confrontations between local armed group and senior members of the federal army that resulted in the death and injuries of people on Wednesday 26 July.
According to the local council, the confrontations erupted during a visit of senior members of the North West Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) who were on their way to Gorgora project, one of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s resorts that is being constructed under his signature “Dine for Generation” (Gebeta LeTewuld) project. The resort is located in the Gorgora town in the West Denbiya district of the central Gonder zone, and was visited by PM Abiy last April.
The local council claimed that the incident happened “when armed forces blocked the road and harassed” the army members, including by “inappropriate agitation against the defense forces. Lives were lost, and physical injuries have also occurred”, the council said, without disclosing the exact location of the incident.
“The root cause of all this problem is a lack of understanding of things and an unreasonable threat,” it said.
Unconfirmed reports were circulating on social media since yesterday that up to a dozen people were killed in the incident, including members of the army and local armed men.
The local council pleaded with the “entire people” of the region to “properly understand” the issue of conflict with the national defense army and consider “the future fate of the Amhara people by advising and educating those who are vulnerable to this type of actions”.
“In order to have lasting peace in our area, we should prepare to solve the problems we are facing through dialogue. We call for sustainable peace and resolve our problems peacefully through dialogue,” the council said.
Mass protests in several major cities in the Amhara region against the federal government’s decision to reorganize regional special forces into regular police and the national army have quickly led to widespread instability and the subsequent assassination on 27 April of the Head of the ruling Prosperity Party in the region, Girma Yeshitila.
On 28 April, the Ethiopian Joint Security and Intelligence Task Force announced that it started “taking decisive measures” against “extremist forces” that it accused of “trying to take control of regional state power by destroying the constitutional order in the Amhara regional state.”
Since then several reports indicate that the militarized violence between the irregular armed group in the region called “Fano” and the federal forces continued in many parts of the region. But owing to lack of official confirmations on the exact nature of the conflict, getting accurate reports remain challenging.