Churches burned and looted in eastern Ethiopia
Mobs of Muslim youths burned and looted churches in the eastern Ethiopian city of Jijiga on Saturday 4 August. Three Protestant churches were ransacked and the Ethiopian Orthodox church was set on fire.
Supporters of regional president, Abdi Mohamoud Omar, took to the streets, attacking churches and also reportedly the homes of some non-Somali and mainly-Christian ethnic groups.
The violence erupted after Ethiopian central government troops entered the city, which is the capital of a semi-autonomous and strongly Muslim and ethnic Somali region. Government troops reportedly attempted to arrest President Omar, who is currently in a dispute with the central government over his treatment of minority ethnic groups.
The region has experienced sporadic violence since 1984, when the Ogaden National Liberation Front launched a campaign to bring about the secession of the region from majority-Christian Ethiopia. The most recent outbreak of violence took place in the early 2000s, during which time there were frequent grenade attacks in Jijiga and a bomb was planted in a church.
From Barnabas Fund contacts