Ethiopian Airlines cancels all flights to Amhara region

Ethiopian Airlines took the decision on Tuesday to suspend flights to Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara region, and declared a halt to all flights to airports within the region due to the ongoing clashes between local fighters and federal troops.

In the previous week, the national airline suspended flights to three additional airports in the northern region.

The surge in violence within Amhara led Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration to declare a six-month state of emergency in the region last week.

“Flights planned for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to Dessie (Kombolcha), Gondar, Lalibela and Bahir Dar have been cancelled,” Ethiopian Airlines said.

The recent turmoil in Africa’s second most populous country arises merely nine months after the conclusion of a devastating two-year conflict in the neighboring Tigray region.

That conflict also involved combatants from the Amhara region.

Tensions began escalating in April when the Ethiopian federal government declared its intention to disband regional forces across the country.

This move led to protests by Amhara nationalists who argued that it would undermine the strength of their region.

The clashes have led to travel advisories being issued by foreign governments.

Residents from multiple towns in Amhara have reported to media that members of the local Fano militia are engaged in a confrontation with federal forces.

Tesfahun, a Bahir Dar resident, informed media on Tuesday that he had heard continuous artillery fire along the airport roads until midnight on Monday.

“This morning there were gunshots around Lideta 14,” a neighbourhood near the airport, he said.

“People are indoors. (There is) no movement.”

The atmosphere in Lalibela, renowned for its ancient rock-cut churches dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, was reported to be “calm,” according to another local resident.

“We can hear gunshots here and there but it wasn’t like yesterday morning,” he said.

Last week, Fano fighters gained control of the city and the Lalibela airport.

Over the weekend, the authorities announced the arrest of individuals deemed responsible for the “security crisis” in Amhara.

The World Health Organization has stated that the ongoing violence has significantly hampered humanitarian operations.

The United States has conveyed its “concern” regarding the clashes, and Australia, Britain, and Spain have issued advisories to their citizens against traveling to Amhara.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top