“We do not want Tigray to be forgotten”: Ethiopian Catholic Bishop to Global Community

Bishop Tesfaselassie Medhin of the Catholic Eparchy of Adigrat in Ethiopia. Credit: CBCE

With international attention now focused on the Israel-Palestine war, a Catholic Bishop in Ethiopia is appealing to world leaders not to forget the conflict in the country’s Tigray region.

In a statement issued Monday, October 23, the Bishop of Adigrat in the Horn of Africa nation says, “Now that the spotlight is mainly on the crisis in the Middle East, we do not want Tigray to be forgotten.”

“In the northern region of Ethiopia, people have been dying in a war for almost three years. It's really sad to witness the war scenarios that are getting worse all over the world,” Bishop Tesfasellassie Medhin laments. 

Bishop Medhin says, “The international community must break its silence. Thousands of people continue to die. Violence and clashes are rampant in other regions of Ethiopia, and suffering people everywhere need peace, food, basic services and justice.”

Ethiopia's northernmost region of Tigray has been hit hard by civil conflict involving ethno-regional militias, the federal government, and the Eritrean military since November 2020.


While the devastating two-year conflict reportedly ended in November 2022, millions of people were left relying on humanitarian aid.

On 2 November 2022, a peace agreement between the Ethiopian government and TPLF was reached in Pretoria, South Africa, in which the two parties pledged to “permanently silence the guns and end the two years of conflict in northern Ethiopia”.

In his October 23 statement, Bishop Medhin calls for the full implementation of the Pretoria peace agreement, “particularly the withdrawal of troops from Tigray and the return of the more than one million internally displaced people to their homes, as well as the restoration of food aid.”

The 70-year-old Catholic Church leader who has been at the helm of his native Catholic Eparchy of Adigrat since his Episcopal Ordination in January 2002 says that the drought in the region further complicates the situation. 

“Water infrastructure such as wells, reservoirs, and irrigation systems have been damaged or destroyed during the conflict, disrupting water supplies for agriculture and drinking water,” he says. 

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The Ethiopian Catholic Bishop adds, “The destruction of forests and vegetation exacerbates the drought situation by reducing water retention and groundwater recharge.”

“Our diocesan coordination office, along with its international partners, is trying to repair water systems and sources and distribute water by vehicle,” he says in his October 23 statement.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.