Ethiopian bishops say “No more war!” as fighting resumes
By Fredrick Nzwili, Catholic News Service
NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) – As fighting resumed in northern Ethiopia, the country’s bishops have urged both sides to prioritize peace, saying women, children and the elderly have been most affected.
In a call titled “No More War!” the bishops urged “all parties to surrender their weapons and return to the option of peace, to prioritize dialogue and an option that will end the suffering of our citizens.” The statement was dated August 18 but was released on September 2.
The fighting has escalated into a full-scale war between federal government forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front since August 24.
The renewed fighting broke a five-month humanitarian truce announced by the government in May to allow aid to reach millions of people in need in Tigray state. During this period, food, medicine and other necessities reached the area, but church leaders feared it was too little, too late.
Each side blames the opposite for the new fights.
The bishops said fighting had resumed as people had hopes for peace and noted that many people “suffered from hunger, disease and psychological disturbances” and had been displaced from their homes. “Our whole country is grappling with the pressure of the cost of living.”
“The church … longs for the agony of people living in Tigray, Amhara, Afar and other parts of the country to be stopped,” the bishops said.
Meanwhile, reports indicate that at least 50 people have been killed in the western region of Oromia. The region, which includes the national capital, Addis Ababa, continued to suffer heavy attacks, apart from fighting in the north.
The war in Tigray started in November 2020, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali announced military action against the TPLF. He had accused the force of attacking a national army base in Mekele, the regional capital.