Is genocide underway in Ethiopia’s Tigray region?

Icon in ancient church in the Tigray region (PHOTO: ACN United States)

Originally published in ACN United States

The targeting of young people, indiscriminate killings and widespread sexual violence — including the rape of nuns — is part of a genocidal campaign against the Tigrayan ethnic people of northern Ethiopia, charged a source close to the Church.

The source, who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons, told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that soldiers from neighbouring Eritrea, who entered the country to support the Ethiopian federal troops, are continuing to slaughter civilians.  

Click on banner to register

ACN’s source said: “This is clearly genocide against the people of Tigray. This is not just fighting; they are killing everybody — that is a sign of genocide. Many people are escaping from Tigray to Sudan and some of them, especially the young, are escaping because they are being targeted. They are deliberately targeting the young. Young people are killed, our women are suffering sexual harassment — that is a sign of genocide itself.”

The source was the latest to claim the attacks constitute genocide, following the charge by Patriarch Mathias, the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, to which most Christians in Tigray belong. The prelate earlier this month described events including the rape of women and the bombing of churches in the region as genocide.

The source went on to describe the spate of sexual abuse which Tigrayan women — including nuns — have been subjected to at the hands of troops from Eritrea: “[Our relatives], our sisters have been raped. Some of them we had to take to the hospital, even nuns have been raped. Women and girls are suffering a different kind of abuse, like you’ve never heard before, things that are very bad. Some of the places that can help support us are closed by the soldiers.”

Last November, fighting broke out in Tigray after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent federal troops, with the support of troops from Eritrea, to fight the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which he accused of holding illegitimate elections.

The source said: “The situation as you heard is very, very bad here. Nearly 90% of people in Tigray are displaced. This war has brought about a huge humanitarian crisis, manifested by overwhelming numbers of civilian killings, the displacement of millions, the destruction of economic and social foundations, psychological pain, and panic. In this regard, the most affected are pregnant mothers, children, as well as disabled and elderly members of society.”

The source stressed that the region desperately needs international support: “The Church is everywhere — it is opening its hand. I remember Aid to the Church in Need, I remember for a long time we are partners, you are very kind. The current crisis in Tigray is unparalleled.”

ACN’s help for Tigray has included emergency support for nuns and monks as well as Mass stipends. Since 2019, ACN has supported nearly 100 projects in Ethiopia, including construction of chapels and monasteries, formation of catechists and the provision of means of transport.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date with God stories of Africa and beyond

DONATE — Thanks for reading Gateway News. Your financial support can help us to keep on reaching people with uplifting news that glorifies God and strengthens His people

COMMENTING GUIDELINES
You are welcome to engage with our articles by making comments [in the Comments area below] that add value to a topic or to engage in thoughtful, constructive discussion with fellow readers. Comments that contain vulgar language will be removed. Hostile, demeaning, disrespectful, propagandistic comments may also be moved. This is a Christian website and if you wish to vent against Christian beliefs you have probably come to the wrong place and your comments may be removed. Ongoing debates and repetitiveness will not be tolerated. You will also disqualify yourself from commenting if you engage in trolling.

Comments are closed.