News: Orthodox church denounces killings of Tigrayan prisoners near Arbaminch, of civilians in East Wollega

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Addis Abeba – The Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church Abune Matias has denounced recent killings carried out in different parts of the country by armed groups and government security forces, saying that it “disturbs the peace atmosphere and saddens the church”.

The Patriarch said in a statement that, “air of peace has started blowing” since the war in the Northern part of the country stopped. 

“However, the killings in different parts of our country, such as killings of prisoners in Arbaminch prison near Abaya river, killings in Adi Daero town in Shire, Tigray, and now the news of death and massacre that is coming out of East Wollega and Horro Guduru, breaks the hearts of many, disturb the peace atmosphere and saddens the church.”

The Washington Post reported last Sunday that around 83 ethnic Tigrayan prisoners including current and retired Tigrayan soldiers were massacred in Mirab Abaya makeshift prison camp near Arbaminch in Gamo zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ region.

“Some were shot by their guards, others hacked to death by villagers who taunted the soldiers about their Tigrayan ethnicity. Bodies were dumped in a mass grave by the prison gate,” the Washington Post reported quoting witnesses.

In response to Abune Matias’s statement, Gamo Zone communications office, however, refuted the killing of prisoners saying that it is “utterly wrong” and asked for the statement to be rectified.

The Patriarch also denounced killings of civilians allegedly committed by Eritrean forces in Adi Daero in Shire, Tigray in November and the recent killings in East Wollega, Oromia.

“There is no gain from killing…it is historically reprehensible, results in moral accountability and displeasing to God, so we call on all involved in this act to refrain from their actions, and the government to fulfill its duty to enforce the law so that peace prevails in all parts of our country,” the patriarch said.

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