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Heavy fighting reported in Ethiopian historic city

Fighting has continued to be reported in Ethiopia’s restive Amhara region between government troops and local militias with the historic city of Gondar seeing heavy urban combat on Sunday.

Local militias known as the Fano entered the city, one of the largest in the region, prompting intense clashes with the army.

A statement published on the official Facebook page of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) confirmed the clashes adding that government security forces thwarted militia attacks killing more than 50.

Fighting is also reported in multiple other places throughout the region with activists and media outlets linked to the militias claiming to have gained control of some areas and capturing dozens of soldiers.

The BBC has not been able to independently confirm the claims.

The outskirts of Lalibela, another city in the region which is home to the famous rock-hewn churches, saw violence last week which included heavy artilleries.

Multiple drone attacks have been reported in recent weeks in several areas.

An annual high-level peace conference scheduled to be held in October in the region’s capital, Bahir Dar, has announced postponing its gathering until April next year stating “unforeseen circumstances”.

The delaying of the conference, which counts the African Union and the UN among its partners, could be related to insecurity in the region.

Meanwhile an independent rights watchdog, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, has accused the authorities of continuing arbitrary arrests in the capital, Addis Ababa, which began after a state of emergency was declared in August in response to the violence in Amhara.

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