Ethiopian Orthodox Church head says genocide is taking place in Tigray

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Ethiopian Orthodox Church head says genocide is taking place in Tigray

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Ethiopian Orthodox Church head says genocide is taking place in Tigray by : 7:27 am On May 11, 2021

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The head of Ethiopia’s Orthodox Church has said that atrocities amounting to genocide are being committed in Tigray, in his first comments on the conflict in the region that broke out in November and has killed thousands.

Abune Mathias, who has been head of the church since 2013, did not say who was responsible for this. He spoke in a video message that was posted on Twitter on Friday by an American religious charity worker.

Dennis Wadley, who heads a U.S.-based church group called Bridge of Hope International, said Abune Mathias had asked him to post the video. “He wanted the world to know the truth regarding what was happening in Tigray,” Wadley told Reuters.

Fighting erupted in early November in Tigray between federal forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a party that dominated the national government until three years ago. The government declared victory at the end of November and says the region is returning to normal. Aid groups say many parts of Tigray remain unreachable due to ongoing conflict.

The video begins with Abune Mathias addressing all Ethiopians and the international community.

“Nowadays, all over Ethiopia in general and in Tigray in particular, many barbarisms have been conducted,” he said.

Later in the video, he said: “Genocide is being committed now,” before describing alleged atrocities such as the raping of women and the bombing and other types of destruction of churches.

The head of a government taskforce on Tigray, Redwan Hussein, did not respond to a request for comment about the video on Saturday.

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