By Francesca Merlo
Abune Mathias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, has decided to go through 16 days of fasting and prayer in order to invoke peace and reconciliation in the country’s Jijiga and Somali regions. The violence that took off in those areas of Ethiopia last week caused around 30 deaths.
The Ethiopian Orthodox church has suffered the aftermath of this violence as, according to local news agencies, at least 7 churches have been burned down and 6 priests and numerous believers killed.
Nature of the violence
The violence was instigated at the end of last week when armed Liyu militia, under orders from Abdi Illey, President of the Somali region, attempted to break up a meeting between members of the regional parliament and representatives of the citizens of Dire Daua.
The purpose of the meeting was to denounce the violation of human rights occurring in the region. The violence beckoned the involvement of the Ethiopian army, an intervention that lead to the attacks on minorities - allegedly lead by Liyu Militias.
Governor resigned and arrested
This out of control violence has led to the resignation of Abdi Illey, regional governor. The situation has accentuated the contrast between regional administration and the government of Addis Abeba.
According to local news agencies, Illey was arrested by the federal army on Wednesday and is being held in custody by authorities in Addis Abeba.
Official sources of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church told Fides News Agency that over 20,000 evacuated Ethiopians are being assisted by Jijinga’s Orthodox parishes.