Ethiopia, East Africa
Political Leader: Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Religions: Christianity 65%, Islam 31%,Traditional 3%, Other 1%
Persecution Ranking: No. 37
Number of Terrorist Groups: 8
Acts of Terrorism: 72; Casualties: 196
Percent of Corruption: 76%
% of People in Poverty: 38.7%
Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country situated in the Horn of Africa that has been landlocked since the independence of its northern neighbor Eritrea in 1993. Apart from Eritrea to the north, Ethiopia is bordered by Sudan to the west, Kenya to the south, Djibouti to the northeast, and Somalia to the east. Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in the world and Africa’s second-most populous nation. The major portion of Ethiopia lies on the Horn of Africa, which is the eastern-most part of the African landmass. Bordering Ethiopia is Sudan to the west, Djibouti and Eritrea to the north, Somalia to the east, and Kenya to the south.
Although a developing nation with constrained resources in a tough neighborhood, Ethiopia has demonstrated political will and intent to tackle the problem of terrorism. Ethiopia’s counterterrorist capabilities were limited, but increasing. The government has agreed to a number of new initiatives and cooperated in efforts to collect and share intelligence on terrorist groups. Ethiopia was an active participant in African Union (AU) counterterrorism efforts.
Christians comprise 65% of Ethiopia’s population, while Muslims make up 31%. The Marxist regime persecuted Christians and destroyed many church buildings, but complete freedom of religion has been restored since 1991.
Challenges for Christians:
Ethiopia is ranked No. 37 among nations that are the worst persecutors of Christians based on Open Doors 2007 “World Watch List.” A series of violent interfaith conflicts in the western part of the country have threatened historic tolerance and stability. On April 2, 2007, in Bambasse, a town in southwest Ethiopia, local Muslims raided the house of evangelist Tolosa Megersa, resulting in the death of six of his cattle and sheep. Five days later, the home of Full Gospel Church leader Lemmu Abdissa was raided. All his property was destroyed, including 8,815 pounds of grain.
On March 26, 2007, a group of Muslim youth attacked and killed evangelist Taddese Tefera Akufo, in Jima, Oromiya Region. At the time of the report, no suspects were in police detention. On October 18, 2006, in Begi and Gidami, Oromiya Region, clashes between Muslims and Protestants resulted in 9 deaths, including the death of two Protestant preachers, whose throats were slashed, and over 100 injured. Additionally, 21 churches, a mosque, and dozens of houses were burned, leading to the displacement of over 400 people. Orthodox churches were burned, although the incidents were primarily between Protestants and Muslims.
On September 26, 2006, in several parts of western Ethiopia, a series of clashes occurred between the Muslim community and members of the Protestant or evangelical communities.
- Pray for the Ethiopian government continue vigilance against combating terrorism and terrorist finance issues.
- Thank God that churches in Ethiopia survived the persecution of the communist era. In 1960, there less than 200,000 Christians in Protestant churches and by the year 2000, this number has grown to nearly 12 million.
- Pray for clashes between Muslims and Protestants to end.
- There has been a move of the Holy Spirit in some sections of the Orthodox Church―with people becoming Christians and getting close to God. Pray for the entire Orthodox Church to be open to the Holy Spirit.
- The growth of the Protestant Church has been amazing. Pray that these Christians would continue to have a real passion for evangelism. Pray also for real spiritual growth and discipleship in the Church.
- The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has survived for centuries almost cut off from Christians around the world and surrounded by Islamic nations. Many Ethiopians belong to the church without having a personal relationship with Jesus and a living faith―and many are also caught up in the occult. Pray that Holy Spirit can bring new life to this Church.
- Many people have come to Ethiopia to escape the violence and bloodshed of Sudan’s civil war. Over 100,000 people live in refugee camps near the border. Pray for their immediate care and health and for the security of their future.
- With over 80 languages spoken across Ethiopia there is an ongoing need for Bible translation. The Bible or the New Testament is available in 18 languages and 12 other languages are in development. Training courses are given regularly to train Ethiopians in translation. Pray that many would be able to use their skills in this way.
- AIDS has spread rapidly and affects over 3 million, which is 10% of the adult population. Pray for Christians who provide care and counseling for families who are suffering.
Sources: 24-7 Prayer, Operation World, Wikipedia, Country Reports on Terrorism 2006, International Religious Freedom Report 2007, Open Doors, The World Factbook