September 1, 2023

Ethiopian Army Claims Upper Hand Against Amhara, Oromia Rebels

City: Addis Ababa

Birhanu Jula, Field Marshal, claims the Ethiopian National Defence Force is using 10% of its force capacity in the Amhara Region

Avatar: Mikiyas Alemu
By Mikiyas Alemu

Mikiyas Alemu is a Journalist and Junior researcher at Addis Zeybe.

Ethiopian Army Claims Upper Hand Against Amhara, Oromia Rebels

Addressing the Defence Force media, Field Marshal Birhanu Jula described the "extremist" groups operating in Ethiopia, particularly in the Amhara and Oromia regions, as no longer posing a significant threat.

He further stated that the Defence Forces are actively engaged in resolving conflicts in the Amhara region and addressing issues caused by the group known as "Shene" in the Oromia region.

Ethiopia's central government, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, has been contending with increasing unrest, primarily stemming from confrontations with various regional militia groups and political factions. This has led to heightened instability within the country, with recent clashes intensifying between federal forces and rebels, primarily in the Amhara and Oromia regions.

Field Marshal Birhanu Jula emphasized the ongoing efforts to neutralize remaining extremist rebels and highlighted the military's commitment to nationwide reform once visible problems in each region are addressed.

Since the Federal government's declaration in April 2023 to dissolve regional paramilitary groups across Ethiopia, Amhara nationalists, who have expressed concerns about their regional autonomy, security, and perceived marginalization, have been protesting this action.

The Amhara region, home to a prominent local militia known as Fano, has been embroiled in a prolonged conflict with the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF). This conflict was triggered by the federal government's move to dissolve regional paramilitary groups, which was met with strong resistance from the Amhara region.

Contrary to Field Marshal Birhanu Jula's claims, local media reports indicate escalating clashes in some areas this week. Social media pages supporting the rebels in the region also suggest that the conflict will persist.

Field Marshal Birhanu Jula, while asserting that the FDRE defense forces are handling the conflicts wisely, remarked that the situation in all regions has ceased to pose a significant threat.
General Birhanu provided a detailed explanation of the current situation in the Amhara region, alleging that the militant group is exploiting the rights of the people as a cover for its actions.

He emphasized the distinction between the current iteration of "Fano" and the previous one, characterizing it as a group defending its land. However, he accused the current Fano movement of engaging in criminal activities such as theft, abuse, road blockades, and undermining development efforts.

Chief of General Staff of ENDF Birhanu noted that the defense army is currently operating at only 10 percent of its capacity in the Amhara region.

Claims by Fano that they captured three helicopters, tanks, and killed a military general were refuted as "false" by Field Marshal Birhanu Jula. He challenged them to provide evidence for their claims, including the use of drones.

Birhanu stressed that the force engaged in the Amhara conflict does not represent the Ethiopian defense force, and he criticized their actions as potentially harmful to Ethiopia's unity.
He also dismissed accusations of human rights violations, asserting that the army is fulfilling its constitutional mandate in all constituencies where it is deployed.

The Chief of Staff cautioned against Ethiopia being torn apart by extremist elements under the guise of defending the constitutional rights of the Amhara people.

The recent uprising of Fano, which briefly took control of many cities, including the regional capital Bahir Dar, led to the resignation of regional president Dr. Yilkal Kefale and the appointment of Arega Kebede in his position.

According to a recent United Nations report, at least 183 people have been killed in two months of fighting between the defense forces and Fano rebels in the Amhara region. The region has been under a state of emergency since August 4, 2023.