Ethiopian Bishop Invites Colleagues to Condemn Crimes against People “with words, actions”

Bishop Tesfasellassie Medhin of Ethiopia's Eparchy of Adigrat. Credit: Courtesy Photo

A Catholic Bishop in Ethiopia has invited other members of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) to speak and act against atrocities in the country’s Tigray Region.

In a Thursday, February 24 report by the information service of Propaganda Fide, Agenzia Fides,  the Bishop of Ethiopia’s Eparchy of Adigrat, which covers the conflict-ridden region, urges “a spirit of brotherhood … in these times of enormous difficulties.”

“The Ethiopian Bishops' Conference, formed by the Catholic Dioceses of the country, has the Christian obligation to confirm towards the Eparchy of Adigrat a spirit of brotherhood with one another, particularly in these times of enormous difficulties due to the terrible tragedies inflicted on pastoral agents, the faithful, and all the people of Tigray”, Bishop Tesfasellassie Medhin has been quoted as saying.

Bishop Medhin adds, “It is in this context that the Eparchy constantly invites the Bishops of the country to condemn with words and actions the crimes committed against the Catholic faithful, the clergy, men and women religious and the entire people of Tigray.”

“The atrocities committed so far against the Tigrinya population are not only against the right to the existence of human beings, but also against God who created us,” the Ethiopian Catholic Bishop say.


He continues, “The Eparchy of Adigrat renews its invitation to the President and the members of the Bishops' Conference to remain faithful to the symbol of unity and solidarity in the ministry of Evangelization that we all represent together, the mission and values of the Conference itself, and to support all those in difficulty.”

The Bishop who has been at the helm of the Eparchy of Adigrat since his Episcopal Ordination in January 2002 further says in reference to CBCE members, “We officially invite you to express your solidarity in favor of the suffering people and to exert peaceful and tangible pressure for an end to this genocidal war. For its part, the Eparchy of Adigrat reconfirms full solidarity, prayer and works of charity.”

The Horn of Africa nation has been experiencing instability caused by violent clashes since November 2020. 

Violence erupted in the Tigray region on 4 November 2020 when forces from the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) allegedly launched an attack on Ethiopia’s Federal Government Army base.

Since then, thousands have been reported dead and more than five million people in need of urgent humanitarian aid as a result of the violence that has spread to the neighboring Afar, a regional state in Northeastern Ethiopia.

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Media reports indicate that tentative signs of calm date back to the pre-Christmas 2021 period, when TPLF declared a unilateral ceasefire and an unconditional withdrawal from the Amhara and Afar regions.

In a January 15 report, TPLF announced its intention to return to Tigray and “open the doors to humanitarian aid”, thus raising hopes of initial relief for the tens of thousands of civilians forced by the conflict to starve or flee.

In the February 24 report, Bishop Medhin says, “The Eparchy of Adigrat, like other religious institutions in Tigray, deeply share the pain and suffering of the war crimes that have been perpetuated for more than 15 months against humanity and of the genocide committed on the Tigrinya people and confirm total solidarity and firm condemnation.”

“While the Catholic institutions and organizations of other countries, in particular the Eritrean Bishops' Conference, a member of the Association of the Bishops' Conference of (Eastern) Africa, the Holy Father and many others have loudly urged the parties to stop the war, to resolve through dialogue and allow humanitarian access to all the needy, the Ethiopian Bishops' Conference, in the last 475 days since the start of the war in Tigray, has failed to express its voice for the voiceless,” he lamented.

In July last year, Catholic Bishops in Ethiopia expressed their “anguish and pain” over the ongoing violence.  


“As Pastors, we cannot but feel the anguish and pain that the people are going through,” Catholic Bishops in Ethiopia said in their 21 July 2021 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.