Ethiopian government spokesperson Redwan Hussien said the country will observe three days of national mourning for 28 Ethiopian Christians killed by Islamic State militants in Libya and three of its nationals killed in South Africa following wave of xenophobic attack against African migrant workers.
The national parliament will convey tomorrow morning to commence the mourning period during which flags will fly at half mast.
A video released by the Islamic State group on Sunday April 19th appears to show the killing of two different groups of captured Ethiopian Christians by the extremist group’s Libyan affiliates.
The 29-minute online video purports to show militants holding two groups of captives. It says one group is held by an IS affiliate in eastern Libya known as Barka Province and the other by an affiliate in the south calling itself the Fazzan Province, AP reported yesterday.
“A masked fighter brandishing a pistol delivers a long statement, saying Christians must convert to Islam or pay a special tax prescribed by the Quran. The video then switches between footage of the captives in the south being shot dead and the captives in the east being beheaded on a beach.”
Ethiopians have been expressing their frustration at the official response given by Redwan on Sunday saying said it was not clear if the victims were Ethiopians and that the Ethiopian embassy in Cairo was investigating the matter. “At this point we cannot be sure if the victims are Ethiopians,” Redwan said.
Redwan’s response in which he took the opportunity to warn Ethiopians leaving the country using various means has also angered many. “If this is confirmed, it will be a warning to people who wish to risk and travel to Europe through the dangerous routes,” Redwan told AP.
Earlier this morning the Ethiopian Orthodox Church released a statement condemning the killing. The Church’s statement followed a statement by the United States government condemning the killings in “the strongest terms.” “That these terrorist killed these men solely because of their faith lays bare the terrorists’ vicious senseless brutality,” the US said.
The news came only a few days after African migrants (including Ethiopians) have experienced xenophobic attacks in South Africa in which three Ethiopians were brutally murdered by a mob of angry South Africans. The three days mourning period is also extended to the three killed in South Africa.
The news on Sunday also followed news of a boat that sank over the weekend with hundreds of African migrants in Mediterranean, which many Ethiopians suspect is also carrying their fellow men and women, and a civil war in Yemen that caught Ethiopian migrant workers trapped; many Ethiopians are believed to have been killed in Yemen.