Since last November, the Ethiopian armed forces have launched an extensive offensive in the Tigray region against the militia of the liberation front of the people of Tigray, accused of causing damages to federal military bases. Tigrean authorities accuse the new prime minister Abiy Ahmed of wanting to remove Tigreans from Ethiopian leadership. Indeed, this Northern Ethiopia ethnicity run the country from 1991 to 2018.
Since Oromo Abiy Ahmed, Muslim father and Christian mother Amhara came to power, Tigreans have always felt more marginalized than central government, itself just signed a peace treaty with Eritrea, yet maintaining many territorial conflicts with Tigray. Regional elections were held illegally in Tigray in September without the agreement of the central government, which surely took part in throwing oil on fire.
Thus, for three months, a real armed conflict is taking place in northern Ethiopia and many abuses have been traced up by the few international observers entering the area. Some are conducted by the Eritrean army supporting the central government in its strategic effort. As Eritrean forces occupied Adigrat, the capital of Tigray, bandits took advantage of ambient chaos to pillage the mission of African Missionaries with whom SOS Chrétiens d'Orient has been working with for two years. The guardian was lynched and the oldest priests unable to escape got tied up as criminals looted their convent.
On February 15, one of the fathers of the community reported that the monastery of Debre Damos had also been hit hard. Religious structure dating back to the 6th century, the Monastery of Debre Damos had resisted the ravages of history. The latter, perched on a high plateau, was only accessible by climbing a peak wall, using a rope stretched by monks from the summit. Teams of SOS Chrétiens d'Orient had been able to visit in January 2019. While the periodic review of the ′′Europe External Program with Africa′′ announced the complete destruction of the site after the looting of old manuscripts, our contact on site assure us that the main church would be intact but all annex buildings would have been destroyed and a monk murdered.
Anyway the Ethiopians are in for more pain and we pray today that peace and unity return to Ethiopia. If today we continue our help through the communities still present, we will in the country next month to meet these suffering Christians and give them all our support.