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At least two killed as Oromo region special forces fire on Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church followers in Shashemene

Killing of members of the church who dared to protect the church from being occupied by the illegal groups as public anger on the position of the Prime Minister is growing 

Shashemene Martyrs _ Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church
Two victims who were killed as Oromo special forces opened fire on the crowd in Shashemene (Photo : SM)

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At least two people are killed and several others injured in Shashemene – about 261 kilometers South of Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. One died at the spot and the other one reportedly died hours later from his injuries. 

Four others have sustained injuries that could be a life threatening one, according to local sources close to the Ethiopian Church. 

The incident happened in St. Michael Church in the city. What sources say is that the arrival of the illegally appointed Bishop for the Dioceses was announced and church bell ringing was heard.

Residents of Shashemene rushed to St. Michael Church to protect the church. Gates to the church premises were reportedly locked by security forces not to allow the laity to enter the church premise.

When they gathered outside the church, police, reportedly, fired gunshot to disperse the crowd. But police action did not disperse the crowd apparently – and police started to shoot live bullets to disperse it.

Oromo regional state special forces are said to be behind the killing and they are said to have used a sniper. 

Tewahedo Media Center cited Melake Tsehay Kesis Yohannes Zelalem, head of Arsi Diocese Parish, as saying “The Pressure on the part of the government is strong and bitter. We all have prepared to die.” 

One of the victims is identified as Ayele Mandefro who is said to be serving in the choir service of St. Mary church in the city. The other victim is Gemechu Gudina – according to social media sources. Followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church are celebrating them as martyrs while condemning government illegal action in support of the illegal group. 

The update from the Holy Synod about the situation confirmed the killing in Shashemene by government forces. 

It said, “The church absolutely condemns the illegal human rights violation and the brutal death of the believers who came out to protect the church On January 27, 2015 E.c at the parish church of Saint Michael in Shashemene city, West Arsi diocese; The Holy Synod decided that justice should be done in all localities by making appropriate synodal and religious prayers” 

His Eminence Abune Henok is cited as saying “It is shameful that the government cooperates with an invading group that is gathered to demolish the church.” 

The killing is seen, as many activists sharing opinion on social media sees it, another clear manifestation of government support for the illegal group. 

The Ethiopian Church has planned a countrywide peaceful demonstration on February 12 which is going to take place after the mass service in the morning. But whether it will happen or not depends on the government response to the Holy Synod. The  church is expecting practical action from the government to stop the illegal actions of the illegal group and abuse of church fathers. 

Yesterday, Abune Yared, Archbishop of Arsi Diocese, was detained by security authorities in the region and later sent to Addis Ababa.  Abune Estifanos of Jimma Diocese experienced similar abuse a few days ago.  

Rumors of efforts for mediation 

There have been mediation efforts to reunite the illegal group with the Holy Synod. The latest attempt was from Ethiopia’s long distance legend, Derartu Tulu. 

But Ethiopians who are following up the matter closely, as shared on social media, do not seem to be happy with the efforts of Derartu. 

The sentiment is that the Holy Synod has passed on a decision based on spiritual laws of the church – which was offered an opportunity for the three illegal Bishops who are chasing dreams of establishing ethnic Oromo patriarchate in the region. 

The church position,at least as things stand now, is that “negotiation” is not relevant to resolve the matter.  But Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has been attempting to impose the acceptance of the illegal group by the Holy Synod in the name of “negotiation.” 

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Somebody better intervene and stop this. I don’t like it at all when young people lose their Allah Created and Blessed lives in such cruel way when the whole world is waiting them. O that blessed country! O that blessed country that had the wisdom. tolerance, audacity and courage to save both major religions of that country and the world when others were after the early followers of both Islam and Christianity. It does not need a religious strife after going all the bloodshed and destruction it has gone through since that very wise leader was deposed in 1974. Somebody step in and mediate this. I am calling on all elders from Afar, Somali, Amhara, Tigray, Oromia, Sidama, Gambela, Benishangul and Southern regions to come together and rein in. Dear President Shimelis Abdisa! There is an alternative to heavy handedness. It is called persuasion. Also remember as the official at the top you are responsible for safety of all residence in Oromia. There should not be pick and choose in such responsibility. If this disagreement goes out hand and leads to massacres of innocent citizens I will be holding you, every official under your leadership and all officials at the federal level from top to bottom accountable for the crime against humanity. The rule of law does not apply to the common citizens and residents only. It also applies to every government official from top to bottom. The mentality of ‘I will do anything to others just because I can’ did not work those before you. It did not work in your country and every other nation in the entire continent of Africa, for that matter. Mengistu had more than a million men under arms. Mubarak even had the latest F16’s on his lap and it was not enough to save him spend days and nights in prison dying a disgraceful death. That very tall and burly Idi Amin even had some cranky M21’s bold enough threatening to bomb the living daylight of Dar es Salaam and Pretoria. It took less than 25,000 Tanzania’s army to chase his fluffy behind in less than a week. Think about it!!!

  2. “”””” Btshu’e Abune Yared’s citizenship rights were illegally violated””””

    Do you think EOTC have the divine right to violate citizenship rights of Oromia Bishops ?

    You are fasting and wearing black dress and you are simultaneously defaming , insulting bishops and ploting against bishops, priests and all non-Amhara church followers .It is God who judges and knows who will be martyr but people who are defaming and insulting bishops and all NOn-Amhara laity will not inherit Kingdom of God. WE firmly believe all laity who serve God honestly and follow the path of God will inherit God’s Kingdom. THose bishops who are inciting the laity will never never inherit Heaven, because they are provoking violnce for their econmic benefit and power in the name of religion, one synod and one Patriarch. Patriarch mean father or chief of a clan or tribe . WE can have several patriarchs.

    Ye are Hypocrite , not children of God but followers of Fano who killed our people Oromo.

    Abiy Ahmed is your moses and he is still doing the right thing. He can’t serve one tribe and ignore the other. He is not your Bishop. YOu are corrupted sorcerers!! Stop provoking amhara to engage in violence with his brother Oromo who is the child of one church one religion. EOTC synod is responsible for every killing and damage, because they are preaching violence and hate fo their power and econmic benefit. No one will be martyr for fighting against with his brother in the same religion. Stop driving amhara to clash with any Oromo or any tribe!!

  3. Why is this pm interfering in the internal affairs of the Holy Synod in violation of Article 11 of the Ethiopian constitution? Why were these 25 or so individuals selected??? What are the characters and backgrounds of the three dissenters that were excommunicated by the Holy Synod????

    1) why has it been impossible for this pm to be impartial and lift his fat thumb off the Scale of Justice for 5 years????

    2) why is he always scared of people with independent minds, conscience and strive to do the right thing and are endowed with ideas ,different from his own mumbo jumbo?????

    3) why he always talks out of both sides of his mouth????

    4) if he is not telling the truth to the public in this spiritual, church affair, who can trust him in the worldly arena????

    5)why he always has to show that he is talking down to people, including his own cabinet members (as seen shockingly by many on tv taking down notes from this neophytic pm as though he were a demigod) and he will have the last say on every issue????

    Not everyone can become a tyrant. It requires a particular confluence of events to gain absolute control over entire nations.

    Studies show dictators that have come and gone show similar traits that by now should be wake up calls for the world before it is too late. The world has enough problems as it is and cannot, must not and will not stomach another Hitler or Stalin in the 21st century.

    Psychology teaches us individuals with dangerous personality traits since childhood, an enabling political environment, an amoral ambition, lack of remorse, empathy for the suffering of others, narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism, paranoia and an extraordinary ambition to achieve control over others are the ones most likely to develop into a would be dictator. Trauma, physical abuse, inferiority complex traits early on in childhood are also denominators often associated with such individuals. Furthermore, they are also accompanied by a cult group of followers who worship them tirelessly day in day out.

    • Yadesa, amhara neftegna deceiving and disrepecting Oromo. YOu objective is not religious but land grabbing.
      free Oromiyaa ‘s church from amhara leadership. The question is Oromo don’t want amhara to lead Oromiyaa and don’ use Amharaic from now on war. Amhara hegemenoy is over. WE don’t incite violence and don’t expect PP to suppress Oromos. Ethipian Govt leads every one not a servant of one tribe.
      History don’t witness these kind of christians of Amhara who bring thick sticks to fight with their bothers Oromos . YOu were supporting the massacre of Oromo by fanos. You are now backed by fanos and your synod is also supported by fanos and mahibrekidusan. You want to overthrow the current regime in the guise of religion.

      Don’t put poor man enad women , including children , at risk and useless death, not a martyrdom.

  4. what is this gutema saying? Abyssinians have never suppressed Oromos; rather the oromo are known to have completely devastated regions after regions that it conquered 5000 years ago – read your history you lazy boot!

    • Yadesa, amhara neftegna deceiving and disrepecting Oromo. YOu objective is not religious but land grabbing.

      History don’t witness these kind of christians of Amhara who bring thick sticks to fight with their bothers Oromos . YOu were supporting the massacre of Oromo by fanos. You are now backed by fanos and your synod is also supported by fanos and mahibrekidusan. You want to overthrow the current regime in the guise of religion.

      Don’t put poor man enad women , including children , at risk and useless death, not a martyrdom.

  5. All the false Oromiyaa narratives and evil barbaric politics has fallen in its face. The false oppression this and that is not working and Abiy and the Oromiyaa has shown it disgusting, ugly and cruel savage face and ambition. The only thing we kept hearing and seeing is 4 years of barbarism, violence, chaos, murder and lootings.

    Now the Oromo telltale, trying to exploit language in the Orthodox religion when ignorant Abiy, Shimels, Jawar, Merara, Adanech or any of those blinded by ethno-fascist ignorance Oromo politicians never complained praying in Arabic in Oromia when majority of Oromos are “Mnuslims”.

  6. Wimpy, a weak, cowardly, or ineffectual Abiy has no chance to fight against God followers!!

    The whole world is watching and looking when the Orthodox Christians and God fearing Ethiopians are demonstrating and protesting against PM Abiy Ahmed violence interference and abuse against our Holy Orthodox Synods, Churches, faithful’s and religion.

    Abiy is not permanent. Abiy has reached the dead end !! He will be gone sooner!!
    Politician come and go but Ethiopia and Ethiopians are there to stay for ever!!

    Government must uphold and respect the Constitution of Ethiopia for peaceful protest and must provide protection to the protestors from violence and politically driven cadre attacks.

    The National Defiance Force, the protector of Ethiopia should should not allow to be exploited by sinister Abiy Ahmed evil politics and stand with their families who are the citizens of Ethiopians whom they swear to protect from enemies.

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