The death toll from renewed attacks against Orthodox Christians ostensibly by security forces in Shashemene city in Ethiopia’s Oromia Regional State has reached 37.Abune Petros, Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox, Tewahedo Church Wednesday told journalists that at least 37 followers of the church were killed and hundreds others were injured in Shashemene city.
On Saturday, Oromia region security forces opened fire on churchgoers who were heading to St. Michael Church to protect the church as the group that the Ethiopian Church excommunicated attempted to break into the church illegally.
The regional security forces repression continued on Sunday and dozens more were killed, said the Secretary.
Apart from the killings, heads of dioceses in many areas of the Oromo region of Ethiopia have been facing extensive harassment from the security of the regional states.
Two archbishops – from Jima and Arsi Dioceses have been arrested by Oromia authorities and sent back to Addis Ababa in less than 24 hours.
Church choirs in the towns surrounding Addis Ababa have been detained en masse, according to the secretary close to the church. Tension is rising in different parts of the region as the Oromo regional state is mounting a crackdown on the followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church who are opposing those who illegally ordained 26 bishops in what appears to be a move to establish an ethnic Oromo patriarchate.