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Ethiopian Oromos facing persecution, request prayer

December 18, 2015 2 Comments
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Protesters gather at the Manitoba legislature to draw attention to the plight of Oromos in Ethiopia.

WINNIPEG – On December 10, Winnipeg’s Oromo Christian Fellowship staged a peaceful protest in Winnipeg at the Manitoba Legislature to draw attention to the plight of Oromo people in Ethiopia, who are facing a violent crackdown from the government.

“The Ethiopian government has a plan to expand the capital city,” explains Rev. Asefa Aredo, “but this expansion will displace thousands of people—especially poor Oromo farmers—that rely on the land and its resources for their livelihood.” There are also fears, Rev. Aredo notes, that this is part of a ‘master plan’ by the government to further suppress the Oromo people’s culture and heritage. Despite being Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, Oromo people have faced repeated persecution in their homeland over the past decades,  leading to a large diaspora of Oromos around the world.

When the public learned of the plans to displace Oromo people from their land, people of all ages began to gather in peaceful protests—protests that are now running into their third week. The government has responded violently, accusing protesters of attempting to start a revolution and labeling them terrorists. The human-rights watch group Amnesty International has warned that the government’s reaction is escalating into a “brutal crackdown,” with forty people killed in the unrest so far and numerous others jailed.

Rev. Aredo is calling on Lutheran Church–Canada members to keep Oromo people in prayer. “Our God is a God of justice and in all ways a God who is right in all ways,” he writes. “We as Oromos are so grateful to God for our centuries-long relationship with the Lutheran Church. As a pastor, activist, and fellow brother in Christ, I am asking you all to keep us in your prayers and in your thoughts.”

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