Friday, July 29, 2005
By BosNewsLife News Center
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (BosNewsLife)– A human rights group has expressed concern about the plight of native and other missionaries in Ethiopia amid reported anti-Christian violence and warnings Thursday, July 28, of famine in several areas.
Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC) said it fears for the lives of Christians preaching the Gospel in the impoverished African nation after the identity of one missionary was revealed by apparently Muslim militants.
"Over the past three years, hundreds of Muslims have come to Christ through the ministry of missionaries serving quietly in Ethiopia. [But] early this month the identity of one of these missionaries in north eastern Ethiopia was discovered by those opposed to the spread of the Gospel," VOMC said.
"According to a VOMC source in Ethiopia, a large mob formed on July 8 intending to kill the missionary whom we will call "Stephen" [for security reasons and which is] not his real name. His house was burned and he was dragged into the bush," the organization added in a statement to BosNewsLife News Center.
VOMC said local police "managed to intervene", but stressed that the violent crowd soon turned on them, injuring two officers. "Stephen was taken into custody where police beat him and allowed other prisoners to attack him. He was finally released after paying 2000 Ethiopian Birr [233 US]" and threats against his life, VOMC said.
Mission leaders are reportedly appealing his case to the high court in Bahir Dar region. VOMC said it was concerned about similar actions against other missionaries and Christians in Ethiopia, who are seen as playing a crucial part in different kind of aid, as a lack of funds has reportedly choked Ethiopia's food-for-work program.
The program aims to provide nearly five million people in the impoverished Horn of Africa nation with food or cash in exchange for public work. However only 11 percent of cash and 44 percent of food has so far reached the beneficiaries, an official study showed Thursday, July 28.
The report, prepared by the state-run Disaster Prevention Program Centre (DPPC) said that "the inadequate implementation" of the program "is resulting in a man-made disaster in many areas of the country," several news agencies reported.
In March, humanitarian groups in the country reportedly warned of risks of malnutrition that may force many of the country's 70 million people to migrate to other areas if the planned food program failed to get off the ground. (With Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife Research and reports from Ethiopia).
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