The members of the 119-year-old Religious Order make reference to and reiterate the November 4 appeal by CBCE members to all those involved in the Tigray conflict “to immediately stop the armed conflict and start peaceful dialogue for the benefit of the people and resolve their differences in the spirit of understanding, mutual respect and trust.”
Making reference to CBCE members, the missionaries say, “We laud your initiatives for dialogue and we join your appeal to the government of Ethiopia and all the concerned parties to collaborate with the African Union and the international community to intervene decisively and find a lasting solution to the causes of the conflict and tensions in order to attain peace and stability.”
The landlocked Horn of Africa nation has been experiencing clashes since November 4 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed-led government ordered a military offensive against the authorities in the Tigray region, which borders Eritrea.
The military offensive was in response to the alleged takeover of Ethiopia’s largest military base located in Tigray’s capital, Mekelle, by forces loyal to the region’s government.
The intervention was the culmination of escalating tensions between the authorities of the two regions that started in September when the ruling party in Tigray, the TPLF organized elections in the region, against the advice of the federal government, which had suspended the polls scheduled for August citing COVID-19 restrictions.
The six-week conflict has “left hundreds dead, thousands displaced, and millions in urgent need of humanitarian assistance,” the leadership of the UN has reported adding, “More than 50,000 people, almost half of them children, have fled across the border into Sudan.”
On Thursday, December 17, UN leadership announced the release of US$36.6 million to help civilians caught up in the conflict “to secure water, sanitation and lifesaving medical supplies.”
Amid the ongoing crisis, the Consolata Missionaries in Africa echo the message St. John Paul II addressed to CBCE members during their 1997 Ad Limina visit to the Vatican in which the Pontiff reminded them of the Church’s role in the society.
“Indeed, the Church has a special role to play and can lend support to the process of building a society in which all citizens, independent of their ethnic, cultural and religious affiliation, can feel at home and be justly treated,” the members of the Consolata missionaries in Africa quote St. John Paul II’s 1997 message in their two page statement circulated December 18.
In the statement signed by eight Provincial Superiors of various regions in Africa as well as the General Councilor of the continent, the members of the Blessed Joseph Allamano-founded missionary congregation are the latest leaders to express their solidarity with the Church in Ethiopia following the crisis.