Ethiopia: Three Christians killed in sniper attack on their church

Wednesday, February 8, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , ,

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Three Christians were reportedly killed, and four were injured in Oromia, southern Ethiopia during a sniper attack on their church by suspected regional government special forces on Saturday, the Christian Post (CP) reports.

Saturday’s deadly attack was carried out on St. Michael Church, which belongs to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo denomination, in the Shashamene area of Oromia, CP said. Some 40% of Ethiopia’s population of 115 million people are members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

According to the denomination’s leaders, the attack on Saturday was part of a “government-supported coup attempt” to overthrow their Holy Synod, CP reports. The attack happened during a difficult period of division and tension within the denomination: last month, a group of bishops broke away to form their own synod in Oromia, and this was declared illegal by the official denomination. Those killed and injured at the weekend were guarding the church against being taken over by someone the congregation says is an illegally appointed bishop.

In a statement about Saturday’s killings, the denomination said: “The Holy Synod has strongly condemned the illegal arrest and harassment of Archbishops Diocese Managers, Department Heads, Priests, ministers and believers of the church.”

“The church absolutely condemns the illegal human rights violation and the brutal death of the believers who came out to protect the church … of Saint Michael in Shashemene city, West Arsi diocese; The Holy Synod decided that justice should be done in all localities by making appropriate synodal and religious prayers,” the denomination statement read

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