International Christian Concern has learned that Ethiopian courts sentenced 579 Muslims to prison terms ranging from three months to 18 years for taking part in violence against Christians that left one dead, and 69 churches and several Christian homes burned to the ground in Asendabo and surrounding areas.
An additional 107 individuals are accused of terrorism for their roles in the attacks against the Christians and the public prosecutors have brought charges against them in federal court. Eight individuals suspected to be among the masterminds of the violence are still at large and Ethiopian authorities are searching for them.
The violence against Christians started on March 2 and continued for a week. ICC was the first organization to break the news about the attacks, warning of the impending destruction. Our supporters responded to the plight of the victims by providing for their emergency needs and signing a petition seeking justice on their behalf.
Speaking to ICC, an Ethiopian church leader said, “I am glad that the rule of law prevailed and the church has finally got protection from the government. The judges who looked at these cases have delivered justice. We are happy that the truth has finally been revealed.”
Ethiopia is a Christian majority country and was one of the first nations to accept Christianity. However, in the areas of the country where Muslims are the majority, Christians face attacks.
“We welcome the decision of Ethiopian courts. We hope that the decision sends a strong message to radical Muslims that violence against innocents will not go unpunished. We would like to thank those who helped the victims through their prayers, their gifts, and their signatures on ICC’s petition seeking justice on behalf of the victims,” said Jonathan Racho, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa.