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Ethiopian Orthodox priest condemns Tigray ‘murder’ | Ethiopian Stories

Ethiopian Orthodox Church leader has accused government officials of carrying out “killings” in the country’s Tigray region, where six-month disputes between the military and allied forces fighting the ruling party is already believed to have killed thousands.

In a video shown last month on the phone and released from Ethiopia, elderly Patriarch Abune Mathias was speaking to millions of churchgoers and foreigners, saying his earlier attempts to speak out had been thwarted.

“I don’t know why they want to announce the massacre of the Tigray people,” their ancestor, a native of Tigrayan culture, says in Amharic.

“They want to destroy the Tigray people,” he adds, compiling a list of dictatorships that include the destruction of churches, massacres, forced starvation and theft.

“It’s not a problem for the Tigray people. The whole world needs to know this,” he said.

The comments are a major criticism of a senior Ethiopian official, with state journalists covering government affairs and independent and Tigray journalists being threatened and harassed. The video comes a few weeks before Ethiopia, which is embroiled in a series of deadly genocide, is set to hold national elections on June 5.

Dennis Wadley, who runs the Bridges of Hope in the United States and has been a friend of the clergy for several years, told the Associated Press that he shot the video recently during a visit last month to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

“I just pulled out my iPhone and said if you want to make a sound, let’s do it,” Wadley said Friday after arriving in the US. “She just poured her heart out … It’s a pity. I really hugged her; I’ve never done this before.”

The church pastor who arrived on Friday confirmed the video and Abune Mathias’ interest in publishing it. The pastor of the church serves alongside Abune Merkorios, who had recently returned.

“I have said many things, but no one allows the message to spread. Instead, they are pressured and illuminated, “says Abune Mathias in the video.

“A lot of atrocities have taken place” these days throughout Ethiopia, but “what is happening in Tigray is very brutal and brutal.”

God will judge everything, he adds.

Berhane Gebre-Christos, a former Ethiopian foreign minister, told Al Jazeera that a religious leader has been speaking out against injustice and his words have “significant significance” both inside and outside Ethiopia.

“This is the most respected parent in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church worldwide,” said Berhane, who is also a member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the former Tigray ruling party elected this week by parliament in Ethiopia. organization of “terrorists”.

“He spoke to the people of Ethiopia and immediately called on the world, the international community to act responsibly and effectively,” Berhane added.

War broke out in Tigray in early November 2020, when, according to the government, militias in the TPLF attacked militias in the region. The violence followed months of strained relations between the TPLF and the federal government over what the party sees as Tigray’s racism and attempts to establish power – a refusal by the government. A TPLF spokesman has denied that the group did the first strike.

The Ethiopian government has said it is “deeply saddened” by the deaths of civilians in Tigray, says the TPLF and that culture has returned to the region of about six million people. It has opposed the spread and enlightenment that the Tigrayans have spread.

But witnesses have been reported in several reliable newspapers that they saw bodies lying on the ground, Tigrays were surrounded and deported and women were raped by Ethiopian troops and allies including neighboring Eritrea. Others have described their relatives and colleagues, including priests being beaten and imprisoned, often without charge.

Churches have been the scene of the massacre – one deacon in Axum told AP that he believed about 800 people had been killed over the weekend in November in and around church – as well as several cemeteries.

“People fell to the ground like leaves,” says Axum’s ancestor, one of Ethiopia’s cleanest cities.

Abune Mathias, born in 1942, has already spoken. In 1980, he became the first church leader to criticize communist rule in Ethiopia “and was forced to live abroad for more than three decades”, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

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