ICC Note: Ethiopia is experiencing one of the largest protest movements in decades due to political strife between the central government and the Oromo people group, but Christians and churches become targets for persecution as Muslim radicals opportunistically take advantage of the present chaos to harass believers. Local contact have told ICC that the massive Oromo uprising in the country’s largest region has afforded radical Islamists the disorder needed to burn churches in the region while law enforcement pits itself against the people and protesters are disrupting certain infrastructure services. In areas of Oromia where Christians were already suffering as minorities in Muslim-dominated pockets, the current anarchy has left them without defense from the ruling authorities who are accused of committing human rights abuses, themselves, by killing protesters by the hundreds.
By Jacey Fortin
3/25/16 Adama, Ethiopia (FP) – For those who would speak frankly about politics in this landlocked East African country, the first challenge is to find a safe space.
But on a recent evening in Adama, a city in the heart of a region reeling from the largest protest movement Ethiopia has faced in decades, most people seemed at ease. University students poured out of the city’s main campus, spilling into claustrophobic bars and pool halls. Others crowded around a cluster of aging taxis, jostling for a quick ride home.
Though it is one of the largest cities in Oromia — where members of Ethiopia’s Oromo ethnic group have taken to the streets in recent months in unprecedented numbers to protest their political and economic marginalization — Adama has remained mostly quiet. Hidden beneath the casual veneer of daily life, however, lurks a deep-seated suspicion of the government, which has built a massive surveillance apparatus and cracked down violently on its opponents.