AU Commission chairperson urges immediate ceasefire in Ethiopia's Amhara region

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ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat on Wednesday called on the conflicting parties in Ethiopia to immediately cease fighting and ensure the protection of civilians.

Faki's urgent call followed several days of fighting in towns across Amhara, the East African country's second most populous region, between federal forces and local militia known as Fano.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Faki said he "is following closely, with grave concern, the continued military confrontations in the Amhara region of Ethiopia."

He reaffirmed the African Union's firm attachment to the constitutional order, territorial integrity, unity and national sovereignty of Ethiopia to ensure stability in the country and in the region.

He further urged the parties to the conflict in the country's Amhara region to engage in dialogue to reach a peaceful solution.

Faki reiterated the continued readiness of the pan-African bloc to support an inter-Ethiopian initiative in the pursuit of peace and stability.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Wednesday said hospitals have faced increased pressure due to the influx of patients with injuries related to the fighting in the conflict-hit Amhara region.

The ICRC, in a statement issued Wednesday, said patients wounded in ongoing violence and those facing other life-threatening conditions in the region are receiving urgent and lifesaving medical care in health facilities supported by the ICRC and Ethiopian Red Cross Society.

The ICRC continues to mobilize vital supplies to support more health facilities across Amhara providing urgent healthcare services to patients with life-threatening conditions, it added.

Amid the expanding armed conflict across the Amhara region, the Ethiopian House of People's Representatives, the lower house of the Ethiopian parliament, on Monday ratified a six-month state of emergency rule.

The decree explaining the necessity of the state of emergency rule that was read to members of the parliament indicated that the armed activities in the region have become impossible to control through the regular law enforcement system.

On Monday, the state-backed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) expressed concern over the human rights impact of the armed conflict on civilians in the region.

The EHRC's call followed a deadly attack that reportedly claimed at least 26 lives in the town of Finote Selam, 385 km from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Enditem

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