Over 1000 years old rock hewn churches of Lalibela under attack, Holy relics, artifacts and crosses reportedly looted by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia on Friday said that Ethiopia could mobilize the Defense Force as pursuit of peace by gov’t emboldened Tigray rebels to expand the war in three directions : East, West and South.
TPLF moves in the West and East seek to achieve access to ports to collect delivery of weaponry from their backers. The focus was more on the west side to get access to Sudan. However, it is framed rather as an essential for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, while in reality it is the longest route to get to Tigray.
International aid agencies, including the USAID whose administrator was on a visit to Ethiopia this week, pushed for the opening of the route to Sudan, but the Ethiopian government did not allow it.
In the east, the TPLF raided about four districts of Afar region massacring hundreds of civilians and displacing over 75,000 people. The Afar- Mekelle route, much shorter than the Sudan route, has been serving as the major supply line for humanitarian assistance for several weeks now. But it was blocked by the Tigray rebels, although many of the aid organizations and the U.S. government blamed the blockade on Ethiopian government. Earlier this week, the Federal government suspended the operations of three humanitarian organizations.
TPLF rebels also took the war south of Tigray – in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. On Thursday this week, they took control of Lalibela town – which is dubbed as the Jerusalem of Ethiopia. The town has over 12 rock hewn churches that date back to over 1000 years.
Ethiopian Christians are in a desperate situation as reports of looting of holy artifacts emerge. It is following this development that the Ethiopian government is responding to public pressure.
“Attacking Afar & Amhara regions,TPLF is increasingly making every endeavor to peace unattainable. The Gov’t of #Ethiopia is being pushed to mobilize & deploy its entire defensive capability if its humanit. overtures for a peaceful resolution of the conflict remain unreciprocated,” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday on its Twitter page.
The Ethiopian Defense Force has been missing in action as the Tigray rebels were pushing the war further south to central Ethiopia.
On Friday, the Defense Force Public Relation officer, Colonel Getnet, said Ethiopia will be compelled to mobilize all its forces in the interest of protecting Ethiopians.