The powerful Gonder militias fighting the regime in Addis Ababa killed 18 soldiers and captured 20 more during battles on September 5, Amara Tegadlo has reported.
Two army units were dispatched to Belesa, Wegera and other areas surrounding Gonder to disarm the local militias who have come into the spotlight in recent times following the outbreak of public protests in Gonder, the main city seen as the bedrock of powerful opposition fighting to unseat the ethnic minority TPLF regime.
Amara Tegadlo, a movement empowering the marginalized Amhara people, said the 18 soldiers were killed during the first combat operation while a second reinforcement unit of about 100 soldiers left 20 of their colleagues captives of the local militia. The source didn’t give details about what happened to the rest of the unit.
Gonder caught the attention of the nation in recent months after a clandestine TPLF group that had travelled from Mekelle to Gonder to arrest members of Wolkait Amhara Identity Establishing Committee, a committee trying to restore the areas annexed into Tigrai back under Gonder/Amhara administration, was wiped out during a shootout to arrest Col. Demeke Zewdu, leader of the rebelling committee.
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Now in police custody in his hometown of Gonder, Col. Demeke enjoys the status of a national hero, and any attempts by TPLF to take the former army officer back to Mekelle is fraught with sparking a deadly fight with the local militias spreading all across the northwest region of Ethiopia.
During funeral marches in honor of their fallen comrades, the local militias sported their much-valued AK-47 rifles and fired shots after shots as per the custom of the region.
TPLF has been on edge to disarm the militias and its latest attempt at doing so has ended in a major setback amid a national uprising in Oromia and other regions to end TPLF’s 25-year-old brutal rule.