November 11, 2022) Elizabeth Kendal requests urgent prayer for Ethiopia…
On Saturday night October 22, gunmen believed to be from the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA – formerly known as ‘OLF-Shene’) stormed the Midre Genet St. Mariam Church in Gebre Guracha.
Inside the church – which is located around 160km north-west of Addis Ababa in North Shewa Zone, Oromia Region – were priests, deacons and a church administrator who had gathered for an all-night prayer service.
Murder and abductions
One deacon was killed in the attack and 11 others were abducted. By November 4, one priest and the church administrator had been ransomed. To date, the whereabouts and condition of the other nine captives remain unknown. North of the capital, Addis Ababa, with three sides adjoining Amhara Region, North Shewa Zone (Oromia) is 84 percent Oromo, 15 percent Amhara, 5.3 percent Muslim and 94 percent Christian.
Religion in Ethiopia (Click on map to enlarge) map source
As RLPB has long reported, the Christian Crisis is especially severe throughout Oromia Region’s majority Christian north-west where militant Oromo ethnic nationalists and separatists are waging a campaign of terror aimed at driving out the minority Amhara [see RLPB 652 (6 July 2022)].
On November 2, the Ethiopian Government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) signed an ‘Agreement for Lasting Peace Through a Permanent Cessation of Hostilities.’
Encircled, depleted and without supply, the TPLF had little choice but to surrender. Now the difficult work of implementation (which includes disarming the TPLF) and negotiation (including over ‘contested areas’) begins. Meanwhile, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) continues to wage terror across Oromia Region’s mostly Christian north and west, targeting the Amhara minority.
Numerous students, local officials and church leaders are currently being held hostage. In North Shewa Zone, security is so bad that churches have ceased services. Nine deacons abducted from a prayer meeting on October 22 remain missing, as do members of a church council abducted around the same time.
The Agreement – which now enters the implementation phase – includes a comprehensive Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) program for the TPLF, as the parties recognise that Ethiopia has ‘only one defence force’ [Article 6]. The parties agree to respect the ‘sovereignty, territorial integrity, and unity of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia’ [Article 2].
We praise and thank God for His mercy in preserving Ethiopia in answer to the prayers of many. The biggest issues facing the federal government now are: implementation of the Agreement – especially the disarmament of the TPLF and negotiations over ‘contested areas’, defeating the terrorist OLA (which is backed by Egypt and Sudan’s Islamist military) and, the most critical issue of all, constitutional reform to address toxic ethnic nationalism and separatism.
All this will take place within the context of the greatest battle of all: the spiritual Battle for Ethiopia (Ephesians 6:12).
(Left: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church worship in Afan Omoro (language) in East Welega, 2016)
Please pray urgently that our merciful God will… intervene, grace, sustain and energise…
- Intervene to protect, sustain and ultimately liberate the youths, officials and Christian leaders currently held hostage by the Oromo Liberation Army; Lord have mercy!
- Grace Prime Minister Abiy and the entire Ethiopian government with wisdom, boldness and resolve to defeat the terrorist Oromo Liberation Army; may every person impacted by OLA terror seek and find their shelter in the Lord.
- Sustain and strengthen Prime Minister Abiy and the entire Ethiopian government as they work to implement the Agreement made with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front; may the Holy Spirit, ‘the Lord and giver of life’, soften hearts and direct minds in favour of peace, reconciliation and Ethiopian unity – for the sake of Ethiopia’s mission-focused church and every lost and needy soul who needs her, be they Ethiopian or otherwise.
- Energise, guide and aid the process of constitutional reform and peace-making for the benefit of Ethiopia and the whole Horn of Africa. Lord have mercy!
‘The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective’ (James 5:16b).
Elizabeth Kendal is an international religious liberty analyst and advocate for the persecuted church. To support this ministry visit www.ElizabethKendal.com.
Elizabeth has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016). She is also an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at Melbourne School of Theology.