Government, Tigray Forces Peace Deal “foundation to stop killing”: Church in Ethiopia

Berhaneyesus Cardinal Souraphiel, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE). Credit: CBCE

The peace agreement between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) serves as a basis to end the misery of the people of God in northern Ethiopia including “killing among brothers and sisters” that has been going on for the past two years, the leadership of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia has said. 

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

In a statement circulated Wednesday, November 9, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) expresses “joy and gratitude” that the warring parties have reached a truce. 

Writing “in the name of the Ethiopian Catholic Church”, CBCE President, Berhaneyesus Cardinal Souraphiel, says, “We believe that the agreement made in South Africa wipes the tears of so many mothers, stops the misery of children, lays the foundation to stop killing among brothers and sisters. As a result of this, it leads our people towards unity and peace.”

Cardinal Souraphiel expresses his gratitude to all those behind the peace agreement, saying, “I would like to thank the people who have been working hard to make this happen and who contributed to its fulfilment.”


“You, the faithful, congratulations to you, since you are able to see the fruits of your fasting and prayer,” the Ethiopian Cardinal says in the one-page statement that the CBCE IT and Communications Officer, Bezawit Assefa, shared with ACI Africa November 9.

The Catholic Church leader calls on faith-based leaders, community elders, and all the people of God in the Horn of Africa nation “to be united to ensure the continuity of peace in the country”, and adds, “Be vigilant and courageous in your prayers.”

Cardinal Souraphiel advocates for the return of “our displaced people back to their homes and help them to start again their lives”.

The member of Congregation of the Mission (CM) who has been at the helm of Addis Ababa Archdiocese since November 1997, first as Apostolic Administrator and since July 1999 as Archbishop, calls for the spirit of “humility and forgiveness” as the country returns to peace.

Making reference to the example of “Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Saints”, the Cardinal quotes Pope Francis, saying, “The seed of peace has to die first in order to grow and bear fruit. It cannot be gained by the philosophy of defeat. Peace does not recognize fighting as a solution. Instead, it is the spirit of humility and forgiveness.”

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“May God bless our country, Ethiopia and its people”, the Catholic Church leader who was elevated to Cardinal in February 2015 says in his statement addressed to “all Ethiopians and all the people of good will”.

Conflict in the Tigray region started in November 2020 when TPLF allegedly launched an attack on Ethiopia’s Federal Government Army base in the region.

TPLF and people in the Tigray region were opposed to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s bid to centralize power in Africa's second most populous country.

The ‘Agreement for Lasting Peace through a Permanent Cessation of Hostilities’ was brokered by the African Union and mediated by former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, assisted by Former Kenyan President, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, and former South African Deputy President, Mlambo-Ngcuka.

In a joint statement issued after signing the deal in South Africa, TPLF and the Ethiopian government say they have agreed to implement transitional measures that include restoring Constitutional order in Tigray, solving political differences, and a Transitional Justice Policy framework to ensure accountability, reconciliation, truth, and healing.


They also say that they agreed upon “a detailed program of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration for the TPLF combatants, taking into account the security situation on the ground.”

They further say they pledged to make only statements that support the implementation of the brokered peace agreement. 

TPLF and the government have called on all Ethiopians within and outside the Horn of Africa nation to support the agreement, put an end to divisive voices, and mobilize their resources for economic recovery.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.