Disaster in Ethiopia: 750 murdered since November 2020

Residents in war-struck Tigray are living in isolation, fear, and hunger
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The Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Canada is calling the situation in northern Ethiopia ‘alarming’ as residents of the war-hit Tigray region are ‘isolated from the rest of the world.’

The ACN released a statement on their official website last week in which they stated that the northern Ethipoian region has been “totally isolated from the rest of the world” for three weeks, citing that residents have no Internet or telephone service.

“Hundreds of citizens are being murdered in the conflicts in the Tigray region,” the statement reads, adding that “there are priests and church leaders among them.”

Located in North Ethiopia, Tigray region’s capital is Mekele, which borders Eritrea and Sudan. 

Approximately 95% of residents of the region are Christians, who belong to the Ethipoian Coptic Orthodox Church and the Tigray ethnic group.

On January 9 2021, the Europe External Programme with Africa reported that the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion (Maryam Tsiyon), in the town of Axum(Tigray region), had been attacked.

The report indicated that up to 750 people were murdered, adding that there was heavy gunfire involved in the attack. 

“Hundreds of people hiding in the Maryam Tsiyon Church were brought out and shot on the square in front,” the report said.

Travel in the region is currently unavailable and residents of the area are unable to communicate due to intense restrictions to services. 

“Shops, schools, churches and convents have been robbed and destroyed. Thousands of people have been forced to free their homes,” it was written in Lynch’s ACN statement.

According to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “food supplies are very limited, widespread looting is reported and insecurity is high” across the region.

The regional government of Tigray is run by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a group that once dominated the ruling coalition of Ethiopia before political changes arose when Prime Minister Abiy took office in 2018.

PM Abiy chose to merge the ruling coalition’s ethnicity-based regional parties into one single party, called the Prosperity Party. However, the TPLF denied the group and refused to join.

It was reported by the BBC that Tigrayan leaders stated they were being unfairly targeted through politics and allegations of corruption, arguing that Abiy’s decision to postpone national elections due to COVID-19 ended his mandate as a ‘legitimate leader’. 

“At the moment, it is almost impossible to access information but we are joining in prayer for this country, its church and its people,” stated Lynch.

The image of a homeless child in Ethiopia urges us to remember and pray for those struggling in the region of Tigray. (Photo: via ACN).

Featured Image: Courtesy of Associated Press

Wiki Production Code: A0578

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