Machete-wielding Muslims attack Ethiopian Christian for evangelizing

A group of machete-wielding Muslims in Hirna, Ethiopia, attacked a local Christian just because the latter was evangelizing, leaving the man with life-threatening wounds at the back of his head.

(REUTERS / Siegfried Modola)Orthodox Christian pilgrims pray by a wall at Bet Medhane Alem rock church in Lalibela. August 19, 2012.

The 27-year-old Christian, whose name has been withheld for security reasons, was alone in his home in Hirna on July 16 when the group of Muslims arrived and attacked him with machetes. A source told World Watch Monitor that the attackers were irate because of the victim's preaching activities and noted that the group had damaged the roof of the local Full Gospel Church prior to the incident.

The victim needed to undergo life-saving surgery and was referred to a hospital in Asebe Teferi. He was then sent to another hospital in Adama, where he underwent the surgery to stabilize his condition. However, the doctor who operated on him there believed that he still needed more specialized treatment in another facility.

Christians in Ethiopia face a difficult life because of the harsh forms of persecution and harassment from the Muslim community. In 2017 alone, persecution charity Open Doors recorded more than 100 incidents of physical attacks targeting Christians and their businesses.

In May, Eternity News reported that 22 Christians in Ethiopia's Kucha province who have been in prison for five years for allegedly "obstructing development" experienced having their appeal postponed again. The charge against them is usually used versus evangelical Christians or members of the religious or ethnic minority.

The charges stemmed from a federal government rule five years ago which said teachers must teach students during the first three years of schooling using their own tribal language. However, the government in Kucha only approved the Gamo language to be used for teaching. More than 600 were arrested as protests cropped up across the region.

Muslim and Orthodox protesters were later freed, but 303 evangelical Christians remained in jail. Their sentencing dates were deferred so many times and many were released over the years, but the 22 Christians remain in prison until now, with vague hopes for a set date for their appeal hearing.