AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Ethnic conflicts, hunger and drought: despite numerous challenges, missionaries do not give up

Tuesday, 3 October 2023


Robe (Agenzia Fides) - "The month of September is special in Ethiopia because the Ethiopian New Year begins, which this year is 2015, and we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Cross, which is also a national holiday. The start of the school year and the great rains give way to the season that we can compare a little with spring in Italy," reports the Apostolic Prefect of Robe, Father Angelo Antolini (OFM Cap), to Fides.
In a Country where insecurity remains high and massacres are occurring, while the government is conducting military operations and people are facing deadly drought, work is taking place in the entire Prefecture, which extends into the central-northern region of Oromia (see Fides, 13/2/2012), many lay people and volunteers worked with the missionaries in the various missions. As a result of the constant hardship in Ethiopia, the missionary was unable to return to Italy for two years, where he is currently attending a series of meetings. "At the beginning of September," the Capuchin priest continued, "I visited our mission in Gode, in the middle of the Somali desert, together with an experienced Ethiopian agronomist, where he gave us some useful tips for our agricultural work in the desert. Back in Robe "I accompanied the completion of the 'Araara' hospital in Bale (see Fides 7/2/2023), which will in the future treat patients suffering from neuropsychiatric diseases widespread in the country". Father Antolini has been working in the Oromia region for more than 10 years, having previously spent 20 years in the south of the country, particularly in Wolaita. It is the country's largest and most populous region, where armed groups are active in several areas and are sowing violence. Recently, violence and armed clashes have also occurred in the region inhabited by the Amhara, an ethnic group in central Ethiopia that makes up 30.2% of the Ethiopian population. According to the United Nations Human Rights Office, at least 180 people have died since July. Of Ethiopia's 120 million inhabitants, it is estimated that half are Muslims, the other half are Christians (mostly Orthodox, but also Protestants) and there is a small animist minority. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 3/10/2023)