By Staff Reporter
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Orthodox Christians who were displaced from their residence following a clash that happened in Qibet Town of Silte Zone of Central Ethiopia Region, were returned to their localities, sources said.
Genet Daoud is a resident of Qibet Town in the Silte Zone of the Central Ethiopia Region. Genet who is a mother of three children said that she fled to Butajira Town in East Guraghe Zone following the religious conflict erupted at the end of last August 2023 and took refuge in a church compound for two months, Deutsche Welle reported.
At present, about one thousand displaced persons including Genet are saying that they have returned to Qibet Town following the reconciliation agreement made by the local elders and religious fathers. Genet, who mentioned that they returned to Qibet Town after two months of exile, said, “those whose houses were gutted by fire during the conflict, have taken refuge in houses of their relatives until theirs were rebuilt”. They were also provided with food cooking materials and mattresses by Siltie Zone Management, according to her. “We were provided with food and cooking materials. We have seen almost a good improvement,” she said.
Hussain Abdul Qadir and Sani Temam are members of the committee, which was established to carry out various activities in the Qibet Town during the welcoming ceremony of the displaced laity of the Orthodox Tewahedo faith from Butajira Town where they took refuge. “Followers of the two religions have been related through intermarriage and cannot be separated,” Douche Wele quoted committee members as saying.
Among those who took part in the reconciliation and rehabilitation processes of the displaced persons are Siltie Diocese Manager, Reverend Negussie Baweq, and the President of the Council of Islamic Affairs of the Central Ethiopia Region, Sheh Mohammed Kelil. The religious leaders said that the reconciliation talks and the results achieved restored the previous unity of the followers of the two religions.
The President of the Council of Islamic Affairs of the Central Ethiopia Region, Sheh Mohammed Kelil, said that the issue was not of public interest from the beginning. “The conflict has occurred in bad days, but there is no hatred among the followers of both religions. The residents themselves have shown this in practice. They welcomed them in a good manner and showed them in their homes.”
The religious leaders of the Siltie Zone indicated that apart from intensifying the bond of the residents, the government should take legal action against those who provoked violence in the area. “When we try to reconcile, they tear us down on Facebook,” the president of the Islamic Affairs Council of the Central Ethiopia Region, Sheh Mohamed Kelil, said, “The government should uphold the rule of law against the instigators of violence.”
Deutsche Welle asked about the guarantee that can deter the conflict that may happen in Qibet Town of the Silte Zone. Head of Peace and Security Bureau of the Central Ethiopia Region, Temesgen Kassa, responded that they would do two things in such situations. “The first is to strengthen the existing interaction of the people, and the second is to establish the rule of law,” Temesgen said.
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