Ethiopians Can No Longer Bear the Sight of War, Catholic Bishops on New Clashes

Members of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE). Credit: CBCE

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) have decried fresh clashes between the military and local Fano militia in Amhara region barely a year after the November last year’s peace agreement, lamenting that Ethiopians can no longer bear the sight of violence.

In a Tuesday, August 7 statement, CBCE members say that the country that is in the Horn of Africa has better options at its disposal to resolve its conflicts and doesn’t always have to resort to war.

“While solving problems in our country by speech, discussion and reconciliation is our culture, it now seems a habit to take war as an option for our various misfortunes,” the Bishops say, and add, “Our capacity to bear war has been exhausted.”

Ethiopia’s Amhara region, which is the country's second-largest region has been experiencing protracted violence. The last two-year conflict was cooled down through a peace agreement in November last year.

However, another cycle of clashes broke out in the same northern region last week. The recent crisis between the military and local militia which is said to have quickly become Ethiopia's most serious security crisis compelled the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to declare a six-month state of emergency.


Fano is an Amhara militia in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. During the two-year conflict that ended in November last year, Fano militia supported federal and Amhara regional forces against rebels that were allied to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The members of the group have been accused of participating in ethnic massacres.

In their August 7 statement, the Catholic Bishops in Ethiopia say that the recent war has led to the death of “many people” with several being injured both physically and psychologically. Some have been captured and property destroyed, they say.

 “The lack of peace in our country and the disputes that are happening over time are very alarming. Therefore, we have reached a stage where our country Ethiopia needs peace more than ever,” the Bishops say.

They say that while it is important to reflect on the causes of conflicts in the country and create good public relations, “the war in different parts of our country invite us to stop and think about our past history.”

They say that wars in the country have always led to massive loss of lives and destruction of property, and are an indication of lack of wisdom, prayer and inability to listen to the voice of the elders and religious leaders.   

More in Africa

They say, “War has never been a solution to any political problem. Political problems should be solved through a political dialogue that is held in a manner that prioritizes mutual interest.”

Calling for peace and justice in Ethiopia, the Catholic Bishops urge “the government and the fighters to stop the war that is going on in our country and to solve the problems through dialogue.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.