Muslims Attack Churches, Christians in Ethiopia, Somalia

Christians in northeastern Ethiopia and Somaliland in northern Somalia have been the brunt of several attacks by Muslims in recent days. In protest against the American-led attacks in Afghanistan, thousands of Muslims recently gathered in Argessa, Somaliland. In response to their demands for revenge, the government destroyed an Ethiopian church in the city and arrested three of its leaders Feb. 15. Those arrested were Hanna Bekelle, Solomon Worku and Zewdnesh Bekele. Local church members went into hiding from local militia, and the three prisoners were reportedly enduring harsh beatings. In other incidents, a Muslim mob attacked two churches in the predominantly Muslim region of Wello in northeastern Ethiopia March 7, destroying the buildings and beating the church members. A convert from Islam, Gureta Hammed, was also attacked and injured, putting him in the hospital. Hammed is an evangelist and involved in translating the Bible into the language of the Afar tribe.