Shimeles Abidssa not honoring pledges made during a meeting with Ethiopian Church fathers. Hundreds of laities still in prison
Last week, there were reports that Ethiopian Church fathers held a “discussion” with Shimeles Abdissa, president of the Oromia regional state.
It focused on the problems that the Ethiopian church has been facing in the region, including security and destruction of properties, since the illegal attempt to form an ethnic Oromia synod by a group of radicalized archbishops some of whom have already returned to the Holy Synod asking for apologies. The condition of arrested laities whose crime was only defending the church from the illegal groups was also an agenda item during the discussion.
According to a report by EOTC media, Shimeles Abdissa pledged to release those arrested by Tuesday of this week. However, he did not honor his promises. According to legal opinions from sources close to the church, their arrest is unlawful.
Ayalew Bituane, a member of the legal team that the church established following the problem in late January of this year, said the president pledged to release all those arrested in connection with the problem but it did not happen.
Not just that. Violation of law and vandalism continues to happen in the region targeting the Ethiopian church. It is happening, according to Ayalew, due to failure on the part of the Oromia police Commission to enforce rule of law. Rather, illegally ordained bishops are getting cooperation from security forces in the region while engaging in illegal activities.
The Ethiopian church planned to undertake a countrywide peaceful demonstration to demand justice but the government sat with church fathers with a pledge to resolve the problem. A ten points agreement was reached – which at the time appeared satisfactory to the church fathers. Now the problem seems to be rather complicated and the Oromia regional state did not demonstrate readiness to discharge responsibility in enforcing the law.
Ayalew, a member of the legal team, said, the agreement the church reached with the government should not be seen as an action on the part of the government to reverse the peaceful demonstration that was intended to be held; the problem is worsening.
Two of the Archbishops who declared the establishment of the “Oromia Synod” have returned to the church. However, one of the archbishops and the bishops they illegally ordained have not returned and are defying court orders not to use properties owned by the Ethiopian church.
Laities and priests are deliberately exposed to difficult circumstances and harassment.
In a related development, about 300 Ethiopian church laities who were detained in Awash Arba, by Oromia regional state, are reportedly released. The action on the part of the government reportedly came after it learned about the news of the preparation by Ethiopian church fathers to visit the arrested Ethiopian church members.
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