Ethiopian Army Regains Control of Lalibela World Heritage Site After Fano Withdrawal

Lalibela (file photo).
9 November 2023

Cape Town — The Ethiopian army has regained control of Lalibela, following a pull-out by a regional armed militants Fano on November 9, 2023 who had overrun much of the historic town on November 8, Al Jazeera reports.

Lalibela is home to 13th Century churches registered as Unesco World Heritage sites.

Fano, a militia operating in the surrounding Amhara region, is battling the Ethiopian army since it was ordered to disband and reintegrate into the Ethiopian police or army. Forces in Amhara said that Ethiopian government's plan will prevent the region from providing armed resistance to any future threat.

Government spokesperson Legesse Tulu disputed reports of violence in the city, according to Reuters.

A six-month state of emergency was imposed in Amhara region in August 2023 to try to stop the clashes. This apparently allowed the Ethiopian government to regain control of major towns and cities including Lalibela, which had been seized by Fano.

Ethiopian government forces and Fano were allies in the fight against Tigrayan forces from northern Ethiopia, when fighting broke out in November 2020. It ended with a peace accord signed in November 2022 between the Ethiopian government and Tigray forces.

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