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News: Orthodox Church denounces killings of Tigrayan prisoners near Arba Minch, civilians in East Wollega

His Holiness Abune Matias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church. Picture: EOTC

Addis Abeba – His Holiness Abune Mathias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, 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 two year war stopped. 

“However, the killings in different parts of our country, such as killings of prisoners in Arba Minch 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 Arba Minch 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 Post reported quoting witnesses.

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 and Horo Guduru 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.

In response to Abune Mathias’s statement on the killings of Tigrayan prisoners, 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 statement is “unknown to the Diocese of Gamo Gofa” and making the area as an area of “death and carnage” while there there is no such killing in the area and there is no prison known as Abaya “tarnished the appearance of our zone and our city Arba Minch” the zonal administration said, further denouncing that the statement released by the social media pages of the congregation and the Church’s integrated media center is “false statement.” AS

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