Ethiopia unrest: Urgent prayer requests

14 October 2016

I must admit, the scale of recent unrest in Ethiopia had completely passed me by. This news was buried amongst other international headlines, so I was completely unaware.

That was until a message from Frew Tamrat, Langham Partnership’s preaching coordinator for Ethiopia, reached our UK headquarters:

“Political unrest all over the country, with clashes between political protestors and government forces, are making it difficult and dangerous to hold Preaching training seminars”.

State of emergency

And it did not take long to search online and find out what has been going on in this embittered African country, which has now declared a state of emergency to last for six months.

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Children in Ethiopia.

Political protests have been taking place for almost a year, centering on discontent among different ethnic groups in the country.

Reasons for the unrest include farmers being displaced, certain communities opposing inclusion in different parts of the country and Muslims being unhappy about government-approved leaders.

Free speech under threat

In the latest clashes, 55 people were killed at a religious festival in the Oromia region on 2 October. Opposition activists said the deaths were caused by police creating panic, while the Government is blaming ‘anti-peace’ groups protesting in the crowd.

Human rights groups report that these latest deaths add to hundreds who have already died during the unrest of the last year.

Former BBC Ethiopia correspondent Elizabeth Blunt says that political protests in Ethiopia are a major challenge to the country’s ‘secretive government’.

Concerns have been raised about the arrests of journalists in the country, as freedom of speech appears to be under threat.

Global shockwaves

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The image of Ethiopian Olympian Feyisa Lila’s protest went viral.

Two people groups, the Amhara and Oromo, have joined in opposition to the ruling authorities, adopting the same protest symbol: arms raised and wrists crossed as if in chains.

An Ethiopian Olympian famously made the gesture when he crossed the line at Rio 2016, an image that sent shockwaves across the world.

So how can we respond? Back to Frew Tamrat, Langham Preaching’s coordinator for Ethiopia:

“Pray for the peace and stability of Ethiopia so that the gospel can be preached peacefully and church leaders equipped for the work of God’s Kingdom.”

Please pray

We are commanded to pray for leaders in 1 Timothy 2:

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

Stand with the Christians in Ethiopia at this time of uncertainty, in the knowledge that only the Gospel of peace can bring real hope. Pray for vital preaching training to continue, bringing light in a dark situation.

Read more about the clashes in Ethiopia

Learn more about Langham Preaching

Victoria Hawkins, Digital Content Producer for Langham Partnership UK and Ireland.

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