Local militias have retreated from major towns (file photo)

Local militias who have been fighting against government troops in Ethiopia’s turbulent Amhara region have retreated from some of the major cities.

Residents in the region’s two biggest cities, the capital Bahir Dar and the historic Gondar, told the BBC that relative calm had returned on Thursday morning after a week of violence.

A command post set up by the government to oversee a state of emergency declared in the region in relation to the clashes has imposed a night-time curfew in six cities and towns.

It’s also banned the carrying of weapons and public demonstrations.

According to residents in Bahir Dar, the relative calm has allowed burials of civilians killed in the violence to take place.

Rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the international community to “forcefully urge the government to protect civilians”.

In a statement on Wednesday, the group accused the authorities of responding to the growing violence in Amhara with “increased repression”.

The UK has reiterated its earlier call for its citizens who might be stuck in the violence to shelter in safe places and stay there until its safe to leave.