ADDIS ABABA – An Ethiopian security source has just told Sudans Post that World Heritage Site Lalibela has not been captured by rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) just a day after Reuters, quoting unnamed residents, reported that the site has been retaken by the insurgent group.
“There is no anything as such,” he said, referring to the alleged recapture of the UNESCO World Heritage site. “There was no fighting yesterday and our troops pulled out to set a trap somewhere against the terrorist forces and we are still around the area and I cannot say that it has been captured, but it is contested.”
The news of the site’s recapture just eleven (11) days after federal forces and their regional allies recaptured it had served a great shock for many who saw the advance of the federal forces against the Tigrayan rebels as inevitable.
The town, located in the Amhara region 645 kilometers (400 miles) north of the capital Addis Ababa, is home to a UNESCO world heritage site and an important pilgrimage site for Ethiopian Christians.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group’s military leadership claimed in a statement shared with pro-TPLF media that they had launched “widespread counter-offensives” in several locations.
What is the situation in Ethiopia?
Rebels had taken control of Lalibela in early August, but on December 1, Ethiopian troops and their Amhara regional allies recaptured the town.
War erupted in November 2020 between Ethiopian federal troops and forces loyal to the TPLF rebel group, the ruling party of Tigray. The conflict has killed thousands of civilians, displaced millions, and has left hundreds of thousands in famine-like conditions.
The conflict prompted countries such as the United States, France and Britain to urge their citizens to leave Ethiopia as soon as possible.
Diplomatic efforts led by the African Union to try to reach a cease-fire have failed to achieve any visible breakthrough.
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