Around two-thirds of Ethiopia’s population is Christian and one-third Muslim. The Ethiopian constitution establishes freedom of religion and stipulates that the state shall not interfere in the practice of religion.
Ethiopia has been experiencing one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. This is the result of both violent conflict in the Tigray region that has spread to other regions and the ongoing drought that has caused desperate hunger across the Horn of Africa – in 2022 parts of Ethiopia suffered the worst drought ever recorded.
As of early 2023, more than two million people had been displaced from their homes; an estimated nine million people were at risk of famine; and in total 20 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance.
The conflict began in November 2020 when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, in response to an attack on a government military base.
Tigrayan Christians have suffered torture, rape and forced removals. Many pastors and church ministers are among the dead, churches have been destroyed or looted, and harvests razed. Soldiers from neighbouring Eritrea carried out terrible atrocities in Tigray. They are accused of the massacres of Christians in and around the historic church of Axum and in the village of Dengelat, crowded for a Christian celebration, in November 2020. Christians are also being subjected to attack in parts of Ethiopia’s western Oromo region.
At the time of writing, a ceasefire that came into force in November 2022 is allowing much-needed humanitarian aid to enter Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa, with many ethnic groups. It officially accepted Christianity in the fourth century.
Pray for a permanent cessation of hostilities so that Ethiopia can rebuild, displaced people can return to their homes and aid can be received. Ask the Lord to send much-needed rain. Pray especially for Christians, that their faith will not fail despite their catastrophic circumstances.