Ancient Ethiopian Monastery Threatened by Abiy Ahmed’s Forces

Abiy Ahmed’s military, deployed with heavy artillery, now encircles the ancient Orthodox Christian monastery of Tedbabe Mariam. Local residents express deep concern over the potential for violence, fearing the imminent threat to the lives of monks and the destruction of invaluable historical artifacts within the monastery’s walls.

Situated in the Amhara Sayint area in eastern Amhara Region, the monastery of Tedbabe Mariam, also referred to as Tedbabe Tsion or Mount Zion, stands as a testament to Ethiopia’s ancient religious heritage, with roots dating back over 2000 years to the practices of the Old Testament era. Within its hallowed halls reside centuries-old manuscripts scribed in Geez, Aramaic, and Arabic, alongside an array of irreplaceable relics and artifacts.

Abiy Ahmed’s military campaign in the Amhara Region has been characterized by widespread violence and destruction, with a primary objective seemingly aimed at genocide of the Amhara people. This includes not only the mass murder of civilians but also the deliberate targeting of religious and cultural heritage integral to the Amhara identity.

The threat to the Tedbabe Mariam monastery is but the latest attack on religious heritage since the Abiy regime began its military operations in Amhara Region over a year ago. For instance the attack on the ancient Debre Elias monastery in Gojjam (south central Amhara Region), where the Abiy regime’s forces laid waste to the monastery, massacred monks and pilgrims, and plundered its artifacts. Such atrocities underscore the urgent need for international attention and intervention to safeguard Ethiopia’s rich religious and cultural heritage and prevent further bloodshed in the region.

Prior to the Abiy regime’s invasion, the Amhara Region had been struggling to recover from consecutive invasions by forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) during the devastating Northern Ethiopia War. During this period countless sites of worship were looted and clergy were massacred. Among the targetted sites is the ancient Waldeba Monastery which once again faces danger due to renewed hostilities by the TPLF.

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