Five Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church pilgrims to Kulubi Gebreil Church were killed this week in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, according to reports from local sources. Ten others have been kidnapped and their whereabouts are unknown as of now.
They were killed in Metehara town – about 128 kilometers South East of the capital Addis Ababa. The Chitian Pilgrims were on their way back to Addis Ababa after celebrating Kulubi Gebriel ( Archangel Gabriel) on December 29 near Dire Dawa town.
The vehicles the victims were driving back to Addis Ababa when gunmen reported open fire and stopped them. According to sources, the gunmen earlier had stopped another vehicle that was heading to Arba Minch. When the gunmen turned to the vehicle heading to Addis Ababa, the other one whose destination was Arba Minch had to escape speeding up. The gunmen have reportedly fired and shot a woman who was in the backseat.
It was after that that the gunmen turned back their attention to the Vehicle that was heading back to Addis Ababa killed four passengers in the car and burned the car. Sources say it was impossible to identify the bodies and that they were laid to rest in the nearby area.
A columnist who published an Amharic article on Borkena said that the pilgrims were first detained by gunmen as they left Addis Ababa. The gunmen also seized about thirty thousand Ethiopian birr and 10 mobile cell phones.
The Ethiopian Federal Police has not yet released any information about the incident. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has not yet released a statement on the incident.
Family members of those who have been kidnapped are worried for their safety. The Oromo Liberation Army (OLF) operating across the Oromia region has been linked to numerous kidnappings and killings of civilians in the region. And there is a speculation that it could be the one behind the tragic killing in Metehara town earlier this week.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has been facing massacres and killings in the Oromia region of Ethiopia for several years now. In November and December 2023 alone, dozens of Orthodox Christians had been killed in the Arsi area of the region.
Last week, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission confirmed that 56 Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo followers were killed in a horrific manner in Arsi, also in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.
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