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Ethiopia Charges 130 in Church Burning Incidents

March 9, 2011

Ethiopian government spokesman Shimelis Kemal told VOA two Christians had been killed in the incidents. In a telephone interview, he said police reinforcements had moved in and restored order.

“In Jimma area, some extremists and some fundamentalists have instigated some people to burn a few prayer places, praying places, and this has been investigated by police and those who are suspected to have set fire on those churches have been apprehended,” he said.

Shimelis said 130 suspects had been charged with instigating religious hatred and violence.

One political activist working in Jimma, who asked not to be identified, quoted Muslim residents in the region as saying the attacks erupted after reports spread that a Christian had desecrated a Koran. That information could not be confirmed.

Attempts by VOA to reach police and local church leaders were unsuccessful Tuesday.   Moga Firisa, head of the opposition Oromo Federal Democratic Movement and a native of the region, said he was conducting his own investigation. He said the burnings had occurred over a period of several days beginning late last week.

Moga said the trouble had broken out in a place known for communal harmony, where Muslim and Christian families have lived and worked together for as long as anyone can remember.

The most recent census indicates Ethiopia is about 60 percent Christian and 40 percent Muslim, though many Muslims dispute the figures. The area where the trouble broke out last week is predominantly Muslim.

Related: Thousands of Islamic Extremists Set Fire to Churches in Ethiopia

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3 comments on “Ethiopia Charges 130 in Church Burning Incidents

  1. Why do people forget that behind Koran and Bible there is the same GOD. In this case there is a high probability external forces are involved especially the areas bordering Somali because Bale Goba is one of the areas affected by the recent incident. Any way be it any religion, the government must make sure that individuals shouldn’t take the law into their own hands.

  2. It is a very sad that churches have burned.Ethiopia is a unique and rolemdel where christans and moslims live together.

  3. IT’S SAD TO HEAR THIS CRIME! MUSLIM AND CHRISTIAN LIVE FOR AGES! BUT NOW OUR COUNTRY HAD RELIGIOUS PROBLEM SINSE PENTECOSTAL IMMAGRANT IN OUR CONTRY!

    PENTECOSTAL ABUSE ORTHODOX RELIGION NOW IF THEY DID THE SAMETHING FOR MUSLIM THE PROBLEM WILL CONTINUE LIKE THIS!

    BUT ALL RELIGIN MUST RESPECT EACHOTHERS!

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