Safaricom Ethiopia has shut down its sites in Ethiopia’s Amhara region after the Federal Government declared a state of emergency following fighting between the military and the Fano militia.
Michael Joseph, the chairman of Safaricom Ethiopia confirmed the closure, referring to Ethiopia as a tough region to do business in presently.
“Today as you know there is a state of emergency and we cannot go to the Amhara region and had to shut our sites down there. All these are challenges that we have to deal with,” he said.
Safaricom Ethiopia reported a Sh21.7 billion loss in the period ended March 2023.
The telco, however, says the challenges notwithstanding the plan to launch its mobile money service in the country in the near term remains on course.
The office of the prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, announced the emergency on Friday, saying attacks by “armed extremist groups” posed an increasing threat to public security and were causing significant economic damage.
Violence flared across Amhara over a disputed plan to absorb regional security forces into the national army. Last year the authorities also tried to stamp out the Amhara militia, called the Fano.
The Fano and the regional security forces played leading roles in the two-year-long civil war with the neighbouring Tigray region and are popular among the Amhara, but the government sees them as a threat to the constitutional order.
Ethiopia last declared a state of emergency in November 2021, at the height of the Tigray conflict.
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