Hundreds of Christians were targeted and killed in Ethiopia's Oromia state in late June and July, after the assassination of a local musician and human rights activist.
According to Barnabas Fund, Hachalu Hundessa, the human rights activist was shot on June 29, 2020. By midnight, targeted attacks on Christians had started in towns across the Oromia regional state.
One family in the area was attacked but managed to escape with their lives on June 30.
Mrs. Eniye Cheru says, “They came to my home and began to knock on our door violently. We tried to escape with our children via the window. They burned my home and grain mill business. But with the kindness of God, I have been able to save my children from being burnt.”
Even though roughly 60% of Ethiopia's population are recognized as Christians, there has been a rise in targeted attacks over the past year by extremists.
While it is reported that Islamic extremists are armed with guns, machetes, swords and spears, other brave Muslims saved Christians lives by protecting them from further attack.
According to the local report, in Oromo, one local Christian man was beheaded after he refused to remove the thread around his neck. The thread signified that he had been baptized.
His widow says, “The attackers said that it is only he/she who prostrates with us before Allah for prayer who is considered an Oromo.”
The report says that the extremists "carried lists of Christians and went door to door, seeking the individuals to kill them. The emphasis was on those who were active supporters of the Church."
Witnesses said that local Police often stood by and watched without intervening.
Surviving Christians in the area are horrified at the killings as well as the desecration of the bodies afterward.
According to Open Doors, the political instability in the country has afforded some groups to target Christians and churches.
However, thousands of arrests have since been made, according to regional reports, including local officials implicated in the attacks.
"Pray that the Lord will equip the church to offer Christians hope in these circumstances, to be ready to reach out with the gospel to their persecutors and to respond to persecution in a way that honors Christ," says Open Doors USA.