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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

UNDERSTANDING THE FANO INSURGENCY IN ETHIOPIA’S AMHARA REGION

The Fano insurgency, emerging in Ethiopia’s  Amhara region in August 2023, has added another layer of conflict to a country already was rocked by the Tigray war (2020-22), and suffering from ongoing strife in the Oromia region. As well as causing widespread deadly violence—largely between the Fano, federal security and local government forces— affecting the region’s civilian population, it has severely disrupted the economy of the Amhara region and beyond. While the Fano have retained a decentralized and loosely coordinated command structure, their widespread support from within the region, and the Amhara diaspora, suggests they are likely to have an enduring influence on the political and security environment in the region for some time to come. The federal government’s recent decision to extend the state of emergency in the region for another four months, governing through a military Command Post and the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF), suggests that the government will continue its military operations with or without negotiations with the Fano. The Fano groups’ lack of cohesive leadership has made this more difficult, but the current low-level insurgency, with no sign of an end, is not sustainable, and will likely require more creative political solutions to resolve.

This briefing paper was produced by the Ethiopia Peace Research Facility (PRF). The PRF is an independent facility combining timely analysis on peace and conflict from Ethiopian experts with support for conflict-sensitive programming in the country. It is managed by the Rift Valley Institute and funded by the UK government.

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