AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Uncertainties and hopes in a country in conflict

Friday, 6 May 2022

Addis Ababa (Agenzia Fides) - "Orthodox fundamentalist groups could create problems for Ethiopia by fueling a new military escalation", one of the seven members of the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia (EIRC) told Fides . "Faced with myths, ideology, there are no remedies, and we are witnessing in Ethiopia the mythologization of the Ethiopian empire and imperial ideology". This testimony reached Fides at a time when Ethiopia is experiencing the first five weeks of the ceasefire, proclaimed by Prime Minister Abiy. US Secretary of State Blinken praised the Prime Minister for the restoration of essential services in Tigray, for the release of political prisoners and also addressed the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which withdrew from most of the Amhara and Afar territories, thus opening up new prospects for new negotiations. According to reports, the positive comment from the Americans comes as Amhara extremists risk sparking conflict with the Oromo. After the attack on a Muslim funeral in Gondar on April 27, which killed at least 20 Muslim worshipers, tensions are very high. In addition, other clashes between the police and young Muslims took place during the celebration of the end of Ramadam. Tensions and fear are likely to fuel the possibility of conflict between the Oromo and the Amhara Orthodox extremists, who were previously implicated, along with the Menelik II group, in the massacre of Gada elders on December 1, 2020. The operations military forces and clashes between the federal army (ENDF) and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) group also continue.
"In this difficult context, to which must be added the serious economic repercussions of the war in Ukraine and the reckless rise in prices which is plunging many people into absolute poverty, continues the source, who remains anonymous for security reasons, part of the Orthodox Church calls for the use of the Oromo language in the liturgy, even if fanatical Amhara groups do not mind. Even in the Orthodox Church, more and more ideas of openness are developing, in response to fanaticism, nostalgia and the purity of the ethnic religious discourse of extremist groups. The situation is changing, and the extremists are an absolute minority, most Orthodox are committed to avoiding confrontation, and cooperate with all Christians". (AP/GF) (Agenzia Fides, 6/5/2022)