Hundreds of Christians reportedly died after defending their church that is said to have the Ark of the Covenant.
The International Christian Concern (ICC) reported that in December, about 750 members of Tigray's Maryam Tsiyon Church reportedly died while trying to defend the Ark of the Covenant from soldiers of the Amhara militia.
For months now, the Tigray People's Liberation Front has continued its conflict with the Ethiopian federal troops who were fighting together with the Amhara militia.
The northern region of Ethiopia is home to many churches in the country including the Maryam Tsiyon Church in Aksum, which is also believed by many Ethiopian Christians to be where the Ark of the Covenant can be found.
According to the report by Europe External Programme with Africa (EEPA), on Dec. 15, 2020 federal and Amhara soldiers came to the church in Aksum wanting to steal the Ark of the Covenant with plans to install it in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. Allegedly, 750 members of the church died while trying to defend the Ark from the soldiers.
The report of the killings had been hard to prove and confirm due to travel restrictions in and out of Tigray. Communications are also in lockdown as issued by the federal government.
However, The Christian Post reported that a situational report released on Jan. 9 by the EEPA revealed that the hundreds of Ethiopian Christians in Aksum died after they were brought out and shot to death. There were also survivors who reported about the mass killing which started after Amhara militia and Ethiopian federal soldiers approached the church.
According to Michael Gervers, a history professor from the University of Toronto, the unrest and violence seems to stem from the fact that the government wants to remove the presence of the Tigrayan culture.
"The government and the Eritreans want to wipe out the Tigrayan culture. They think they're better than rest of the people in the country. The looting is about destroying and removing the cultural presence of Tigray," Gervers explained.
Humanitarian workers in Ethiopia reveal that fighting still continues in the country and Christians are getting killed. According to Christianity Daily, 500 Christians had been killed in Ethiopia since June 2020 due to religious extremism that only aggravates ethnic division in the country.
The killings also started when Hachallu Hundessa, a popular Oromo singer who promoted political freedom and advocated for resistance, was assassinated.
As if the report of multiple killings were not enough, Christian houses and their businesses were also vandalized, destroyed or worst, burnt down. Traditional Muslims from the Oromo ethnic group, the Qeerroo, also perform "door-to-door attacks on Christian households" armed with guns, spears, machetes and swords to slaughter Christians and seem to be proud of what they have done by "dancing and singing, carrying the chopped or hacked body parts of those they slaughtered."
Heartbreakingly, children are most often forced to watch their parents murdered or slaughtered for their faith.
With all that is happening, Christians must stand together in prayer to pray and intercede for the Ethiopian brothers and sisters who are suffering much from the hands of religious extremists in the country.