Heavy fighting has flared up again in several parts of the Ethiopian region of Amhara, where government troops are battling local militia.

Artillery has been used in the latest clashes between soldiers and the Fano militia.

The Ethiopian authorities have banned any movement on a road linking two cities – Debre Birhan and Dese – potentially signalling a major offensive. The army says it cleared another route, south of the town of Merawi.

Residents who spoke to the BBC have described Monday’s clashes as “intense.”

Earlier this month, Ethiopia’s human rights watchdog, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, said troops had carried out dozens of extra-judicial killings in the town. The government denied that civilians had been targeted.

It recently extended a state of emergency in the Amhara region.

The unrest began last year when the government in Addis Ababa tried to disarm the militia in Amhara after the end of the war in the neighbouring Tigray region