With the bold statement: “They want to destroy the people of Tigray.” Patriarch Abune Mathias of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has openly said in his first public comment on the issue of war in the country that the massacre in Tigray region is nothing but a ‘genocide’.
To provide more premises, he said his attempt to spread word to the international community in a video last month was sabotaged.
It was shot in Addis Ababa in an impulsive moment by Dennis Wadley – a close friend to Abune Mathias, who also runs the U.S.-based Bridges of Hope organization.
“I just pulled out my iPhone and said if you want to get the word out, let’s do it…He just poured out his heart…It is so sad. I actually hugged him; I never did that before,” Wadley shared. The video followed after the six months conflict in Tigray.
As a result of political struggles, thousands of people have gone 6 ft below in the fight between Ethiopian and allied forces and that of Tigrayans including neighboring Eritrea.
As the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and an ethnic of Tigray, Abune Mathias is filled with grief and now speaking without fear:
“I am not clear why they want to declare genocide on the people of Tigray,” Abune Mathias says, speaking in Amharic and listing alleged atrocities including the destruction of churches, massacres, forced starvation and looting. “It is not the fault of the Tigray people. The whole world should know it.”
According to witnesses, civilians are targeted. They talked about bodies strewn on the ground in communities, women being raped, unlawful detainment, and Tigrayans expelled which often end up without charges. The church has also been a place of massacre. In Axum – the holiest city of Ethiopia, it has been said that people were dropped like leaves.
Abune Mathias has therefore calledl for the world to respond to this situation saying the bad season might pass away.
Also in the video coverage, Abune Mathias said he has said a lot of things, and that no one allows the message to be shared. “Rather, it is being stifled and censored.”
However, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has officially confirmed the video and the interest of the elderly patriarch made public.
“Many barbarisms have been conducted…what is happening in Tigray is of the highest brutality and cruelty.” God will judge everything, he added.
The Ethiopian government has come forward to deny the widespread allegations and claims normality is returning.
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.