Ethiopia Lalibela Airport Falls Under Control of Fano Forces Amid Ongoing Conflict

Lalibela, Ethiopia — In a significant development, the Fano militias from the Amhara region have taken control of Lalibela Airport amid a fierce battle with the Oromo-led military. 

The commander of the Fano Forces, Brigadier General Marew, announced the capture, stating, “We have broken the last remaining stronghold of the enemy in the Lalibela district.” This victory follows intense clashes in the Lalibela area, a city known for its historical significance and ancient churches. The Fano Forces reported that they have also liberated the town of Shumshaha, which had been a key stronghold of the opposing forces. Shumshaha was previously used as a base by the enemy to control Lalibela Airport. In a statement to Ethio 251 Media, Brigadier General Marew highlighted that this victory cuts off the enemy’s access routes, including important roads and strategic points around Shumshaha and the airport. This move is expected to significantly hinder the military operations of the opposing forces.

The Fano Forces, known for their resistance against perceived governmental oppression and their fight for regional autonomy, have intensified their efforts in recent months. This capture not only secures a vital transportation hub but also underscores the growing influence and operational capability of the Fano forces. Reports indicate that fierce clashes continue to erupt between the Fano militias and the Oromo-led military forces. Lalibela, renowned for its ancient rock-hewn churches and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, has become a focal point in this conflict. The city’s strategic importance and cultural significance make it a valuable asset for both sides.

The Oromo-led regime has yet to issue an official statement regarding the fall of Lalibela Airport. However, sources within the military suggest that efforts are underway to regain control of the facility. The conflict has raised concerns over the safety of civilians and the preservation of Lalibela’s historical and cultural heritage. Local sources report that the Fano Forces have fortified their positions around the airport and are preparing for potential counterattacks. The capture of the airport is expected to bolster their logistical capabilities, allowing for the movement of personnel and supplies, and potentially attracting further support from sympathetic groups within the Amhara region. The conflict between the Fano militias and the Oromo-led military is part of a broader struggle in Ethiopia, where ethnic Amharas are subject to systematic violence, extrajudicial killings, and displacement. The violence has displaced thousands of ethnic Amharas, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the region. The capture of Lalibela Airport by the Fano Forces is a stark reminder of the fragile and volatile nature of Ethiopia’s current political landscape.

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