Addis Ababa – In a general climate of chaos and uncertainty, the news, confirmed to Agenzia Fides by local sources, of a raid carried out on November 5 by government military forces in a center in Gottera (Addis Ababa). Ababa) led by the Salesians of Don Bosco, involving 17 members of the priests, religious brothers and employees of the Center, arrested without reason and taken to an unknown place. The Salesians in Ethiopia, on the other hand, call on people to “pray for peace and unity in the country”. In a situation marked by suffering, poverty, fear and absolute insecurity, all Christians in Ethiopia hope that the Pope’s appeal, the intervention of the African Union and that of the American envoy in the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, will help ease the situation. .
“We are shocked by the news of the arrest of Ethiopian and Eritrean priests, deacons and lay people who lived and worked in the Salesian provincial house”, comments Fr Mussie Zerai, president of the “Habeisha” agency, to Agenzia Fides. “We still do not understand what are the reasons for such a serious act: why are priests who exercise their educational mandate arrested, especially in a center which has always been committed to doing good, which is frequented by many children for years and where street children are rehabilitated “.
“Provincial priests, deacons, kitchen staff have been arrested, we know of raids and searches in other religious houses. But it is clear to everyone that churches, houses of religious, are not centers of politics. be resolved as soon as possible and that everyone will be freed very quickly and that this madness will not be an obstacle to the mission of the Church towards the poor and towards those who find themselves in difficulty. I visited the Center myself and saw how it works because it is open to everyone, regardless of ethnicity, religion or social class. ”The Salesians of Don Bosco have started their work in Ethiopia in 1975. Since then, they have established a significant presence in five regions of the country, one of which is in Tigray Province, at the center of a conflict that has developed into one. the world’s worst wars in just one year, with countless refugees and almost the entire population in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. Kindergartens, primary schools, high schools and vocational training and guidance centers are sponsored by Salesians Don Bosco. The province currently has 100 members who live in about fifteen houses in the vast African country. Its activities are carried out through three missionary centers, five parishes, six technical schools, 13 youth centers, 13 primary and secondary schools and 2 centers for street children. As reported by the news site “Africa ExPress”, police broke into the Orthodox Christian cathedral in Addis Ababa and forced priests and monks in the Tigray region to stop religious services. The clergy were then loaded into security vans and taken to unidentified locations.