Priest Decries What is Happening in Tigray

Appeal to Missionaries from European Coordinator for Eritrean Catholics

What is Happening in Tigray
© Fides

“Continue to gather information on what is happening in Tigray, inform public opinion with your means of communication. Urge the Holy See to put pressure on the international community thanks to its diplomatic network. May it intervene more vigorously to put an end to this situation”.

This is the heartfelt appeal launched to the missionaries by Fr. Mussie Zerai Yosief, European coordinator for Eritrean Catholics. In a recent interview, released to the Society for African Missions, the priest recalled the sanctions imposed by the United States on the Ethiopian government, “it is not enough, the massacre of the civilian population must stop, humanitarian corridors must be opened and aid convoys waiting at the borders of the Tigray region must be released”, reads the note sent to Agenzia Fides.

“The civilian population has no blame in this conflict: it must not suffer due to the faults of any party or federal government. It is the most vulnerable population that is paying the highest price for this crisis: women, old people, children, insists Fr. Zerai. The international community must set up an independent commission of inquiry to investigate what has happened in recent months in the region. It needs to be clarified who did what, and why they did it. The guilty must respond to the law of international law of the crimes committed: rape, abuse, torture, arbitrary and free destruction of many goods built with years and years of work and sacrifice”. Since November 2020, Tigray has been devastated by a civil war that has already caused thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of refugees.

“The humanitarian situation is catastrophic, people are starving. Many infrastructures have been destroyed. Humanitarian aid fails to reach the population”, the priest said. “Furthermore, hospitals have been damaged, medicines are lacking and the Covid pandemic has worsened the whole health care system. And then there is famine, lack of food: in addition to the war, an invasion of locusts has devastated the little harvest that farmers had still managed to cultivate.

“It is a real humanitarian catastrophe. Hundreds of thousands of people are at risk. A ceasefire has not yet been declared, and so people keep shooting, kill and die. News speaks of massacres that continue to be perpetrated: a very serious situation. The efforts of the population to build a future with their work have been destroyed, and we are back to year zero”, concludes the European coordinator for Eritrean Catholics.