This place is considered to be one of the greatest attractions of Ethiopia. Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been captured by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front forces fighting the Ethiopian government, Reuters reported, citing witness accounts. He also writes about the escape of residents.
Lalibela is famous for its rock-cut churches, and is also a sacred site of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It is located in the administrative region of Amhara in the north of Ethiopia and is adjacent to Tirgraj. In recent weeks, fighting in the region has spread to neighboring Amhara and another Afar region, forcing some 250,000 people to flee.
The Reuters Agency notes that it has not yet been able to confirm information about the city’s occupation by dissident troops in independent sources or contact a government spokesman.
Lalibela is on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage ListShutterstock
Seyfu, a Lalibel resident who spoke to Reuter on the phone, said he saw hundreds of armed men speaking the language of the ethnic Tigra on Thursday. He also said that they wore uniforms different to those worn by government officials.
A Reuters interlocutor reported that forces from the Amhara region, which are an ally of Ethiopia’s central government, fled Wednesday night along with local officials. “We asked them to stay, or at least give us their guns, but they refused and ran away, taking with them five ambulances, a few trucks and cars,” he said.
According to an interlocutor of the AFP agency, rebels of the Tigraj People’s Liberation Front entered Lalibela on Thursday afternoon without a fight, and there were no government security forces in the area.