Ethiopian Government Forces Recapture Lalibela, a UN World Heritage Site

REUTERS

Lalibela

Ethiopian government forces and their regional allies have recaptured the town of Lalibela, a town in the Amhara region and a United Nations World Heritage site, state-affiliated Fana broadcaster said on Wednesday.

Ethiopian soldiers supported by regional forces have recaptured territory from rebellious Tigrayan fighters, the prime minister’s office said on Wednesday, as a resident in one village told Reuters that Tigrayan forces had left his village.

The announcement of territorial gains in Amhara follows news over the weekend that government forces had recaptured the town of Chifra in Afar region after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed left the capital Addis Ababa to direct fighting from the frontlines last week.

Gains by the military in Afar and Amhara would be a blow to Tigrayan forces, who had threatened to either advance further southwards through Amhara and march on the capital, or march eastwards and threaten a road linking landlocked Ethiopia to the region’s main port.

The year-old conflict between the federal government and the leadership of the northern region of Tigray has killed thousands of civilians, forced millions to flee their homes, and made more than 9 million people dependent on food aid.

Abiy’s office tweeted that Ethiopian soldiers now controlled the town of Shewa Robit, 220 km (136 miles) northeast of Addis Ababa, and eight other towns and villages. It said Mezezo, Molale, Rasa areas were liberated from TPLF forces.

Getachew Reda, the spokesman for the Tigrayan forces, was not available for comment.

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