Saturday, February 20, 2021

Ethiopian Worshippers Killed Protecting the "Ark of the Covenant"

Go figure!

 Hundreds of worshippers reportedly armed with 'cobbles and sticks' rushed to protect the sacred Ark of the Covenant as brutal fighting in Ethiopia neared the church where it is said to be secured.

As skirmishes broke out between soldiers and rebel fighters in the holy city of Axum, in the Tigray region, worshippers rushed to defend the Church of St Mary of Zion.

A local university lecturer claimed to The Times that some people 'were killed' after running to 'support priests and others protecting the ark' at the church.

The ark is described in the Bible as an ornate wooden casket which houses stone tablets etched with the Ten Commandments.  It is said to have been in the Axum church since the 1960s. 

Up to 800 people are believed to have been killed in the fighting, which took place in November but news of which has only just emerged because the region has been cut off from outsiders. 

A shocking video filmed at the monastery of Debre Abay, south-west of Axum, appears to show the aftermath of a war crime carried out by Ethiopian soldiers.

They are seen joking and laughing as they walk among the bodies of villagers. 

Ethnic violence over land and resources has been a persistent problem in Ethiopia under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to office in April 2018. 

Ethiopian forces and soldiers from neighbouring Eritrea have for months been fighting troops loyal to the former Tigrayan regional government. 

Thousands have been killed and millions put on the brink of starvation.   

The fighting at the Church of St Mary of Zion, between Eritrean soldiers and rebel Tigrayan militia, saw up to 800 people killed. 

The world's media has been largely cut off from the region since the fighting began.

Getu Mak, 32, a university lecturer told The Times: 'When people heard the shooting, they ran to the church to give support to the priests and others protecting the ark.

'Certainly some of them were killed for doing that.' 

The defenders of the ark reportedly armed themselves with only 'cobbles and sticks', according to witnesses who spoke to the Belgium-based non-governmental Europe External Programme with Africa.

Getu added that worshippers were worried the ark would be taken from the church 'to Eritrea, to [Ethiopian capital] Addis Ababa' or may disappear entirely. 

A day after the killings at the church, Eritrean forces reportedly went looking for people sympathetic to the rebel Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). 

Getu said there was 'no mercy' and even the young and old were targeted. 

And the horrifying video filmed at Debre Abay monastery and posted on social media showed pools of blood and the ground strewn with dozens of bodies. 

Groans could be heard from one seriously injured man who was seen on the floor, lying between corpses.

The soldiers could be seen laughing as they talked to each other following what appears to have been a mass execution. 

Ethnic violence over land and resources has been a persistent problem in Ethiopia under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to office in April 2018. 

The internet and mobile phone networks have been shut off in Tigray. 


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