Domestic Flights Suspended Due to Ongoing Conflict.
In an unprecedented move, Ethiopian Airlines, the country’s top airline, has suspended domestic flights to the popular tourist destinations of Lalibela Town and Gondar Town. This decision comes in response to the escalating conflict between government security forces and Fano militants in the North Wollo Zone of the Amhara Region.
Impacts of Conflict on Airport Operations.
This volatile situation has compelled Lalibela Airport to relocate various facilities to safer locations, evident of the increasing threat to security. However, further details from Ethiopian Airlines on the current situation remain elusive despite multiple attempts.
Effects on the Tourism Sector.
Mandefro Tadesse, Head of Cultural and Tourism Office of Lalibela Town administration, has voiced concerns about the impact of the ongoing conflict on the tourism sector. The industry, which had been on the recovery path after the recent war in the north and the Covid-19 pandemic, now faces a significant setback. The ongoing security issues have undeniably created difficulties for people whose livelihood depends on income from tourism.
The Human Cost of the Conflict.
The battles between the government forces and Fano militants in different parts of the region have not only disrupted everyday life but resulted in casualties on both sides, including non-combatants. The Defence Force announced on August 1, 2023, that it would persist in its actions against the Fano militants, further escalating the tension in the region.
Call for Peaceful Dialogue.
In an attempt to quell the unrest, Yilikal Kefale, Chief Administrator of the Amhara Region, has urged a return to peaceful dialogue to resolve the ongoing conflict. He implored individuals with differing views to lay down their weapons and engage in civilized discussions with religious leaders, public representatives, youth, and other community members. This call to peace aims to foster an environment of understanding and cooperation, which is crucial in these challenging times.