Date:  March 15, 2021

Twenty-four Christians, including two ministers, were attacked and killed by armed militants in western Ethiopia on Sunday, March 7.

The Christians were attending a church service in Horo Guduru Welega zone (formerly Welega province) on the eve of Ethiopian Lent, which began on March 8.

a9e356f ethiopia maps welega hucc176bfdd7eb556bce247df507f6d22f 59223 590x0 resize q75 box

According to local contacts, members of the militant group OLF Shenie, an offshoot of the Oromo Liberation Front thought to be active in west and south Oromia, surrounded the church and forced members of the congregation to hand over their mobile phones.

The armed men then killed the two ministers outside the church, before taking the other Christians to a nearby forest, where they too were killed.

An unconfirmed BBC Amharic Service report said the church was burned down in the attack.

The incident was confirmed by a regional official, who said that security forces have been sent to the area.

“Please include Ethiopia in your prayers,” urged a Barnabas Aid contact who told us that Christians in the region are living under an ongoing threat of violent attack. “… Christians are living in utter fear day in and day out,” he added.