Pope Francis renewed his call for peace in Ethiopia after a violent conflict in the country’s northern Tigray region left hundreds dead and forced thousands more to flee. Source: Crux.
“The Holy Father, in calling for prayer for this country, appeals to the sides in the conflict to stop the violence, to safeguard lives, especially those of civilians, and to restore peace to the people,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement.
In early November, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the country’s military to launch an offensive after forces belonging to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a political party loyal to the regional government, took over a military base.
According to the BBC, tensions between the government and the TPLF reached an all-time high after the central government postponed the August 2020 elections in Ethiopia to mid-2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pope’s message echoed the sentiments of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who expressed his concern over an imminent attack by government forces on the Tigray capital, Mekele.
In a statement last week, Mr Guterres called on Ethiopian government authorities to “do everything possible to protect civilians, uphold human rights and ensure humanitarian access for the provision of much-needed assistance”.
According to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 40,000 Ethiopian refugees have fled into neighbouring Sudan.
Pope appeals for peace as violence increases in Ethiopia (By Junno Arocho Esteves, CNS via Crux)
Ethiopia conflict intensifies amid calls for peace (The Tablet)