Violence in the north of Ethiopia follows months of unrest across the country. In this article, Open Doors supporters are asked to keep praying for vulnerable brothers and sisters in Tigray and elsewhere.
Please keep praying for our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. ‘Scores, and probably hundreds,’ of civilians have been massacred in the growing conflict in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, according to a report from Amnesty International. Witnesses blamed forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) for the killings, though Tigrayan officials have denied that pro-TPLF troops were involved.
It has been reported that, last week, Ethiopian forces liberated a town in the northern Tigray region, accusing local TPLF leaders of taking 10,000 prisoners from the town as they fled. (Getting information has been hard, with phone lines and the internet down in that area, and Open Doors contacts have not yet been able to independently confirm any of these reports.) In a very worrying development, Tigray forces fired rockets into neighbouring Eritrea on Saturday 14 November. At least three rockets appeared to have been aimed at the airport in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, hours after the Tigray regional government warned it might attack.
The TPLF was a prominent and powerful force in Ethiopian politics until Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018. Since then, its members have lost central government positions and others have been arrested for human rights abuses and corruption. When regional and national elections were indefinitely postponed earlier this year, because of Covid-19, tensions further escalated between TPLF and the federal government.
This follows deadly protests in July in Addis Ababa and several towns across Oromia State, further south. At least 280 people were killed, with Christians belonging to the Oromo ethnic group being particularly targeted. The Orthodox church and some Evangelical churches spoke out against specific targeting, and more than 9,000 Christians have been displaced.
The violence erupted after the murder of a prominent ethnic Oromo musician and activist, Hachalu Hundessa. Gunmen shot Hundessa in Addis Ababa on June 29, in what Prime Minister Abiy called ‘an evil act’. The prime minister said it was part of a plot to destabilise the country and derail democratic reform, but the motive behind the murder has not been proven.
Please remain in fervent prayer for Ethiopia, as unrest continues in various regions and for different reasons. The UN estimates that nine million people in and around Tigray are at high risk, and many Ethiopians are fleeing to Sudan – which does not have the infrastructure to support a large influx of refugees.
Lord, we ask that you give Prime Minister Abiy and his government wisdom, diligence and accountability, and that You would restore peace in Tibray and across Ethiopia. We lift up Your children who are mourning loved ones they have lost in conflicts this year, and ask that You protect Your children in Ethiopia.
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