Displaying items by tag: Civil War
An ongoing civil war threatens to tear Ethiopia apart. The latest event is a massacre of over 200 members of the Amhara ethnic group on 19 June. Witnesses claim the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), a group authorised by the government, was responsible. The OLA denied carrying out the killings, claiming it was committed by a militia group aligned with prime minister Abiy Ahmed and his regional government. The northern region of Tigray saw a rebellion in 2020; this massacre is the worst since then. No one is innocent in this ongoing civil war - both sides have committed mass killings, sexual violence, and ethnic cleansing. The Tigray Liberation Front has joined forces with the OLA against the government on many occasions. Mr Abiy faces many challenges trying to consolidate power among the many ethnic groups, especially the Amharas. Please pray for the different ethnic groups to realise they must work together for peace in nonviolent ways.
Ayder Referral Hospital, Tigray’s main hospital, is now turning away sick people they can no longer treat. They have run out of supplies, casting doubt on the government’s claim to have opened the war-torn Ethiopian region to humanitarian aid. 200 patients, including babies with meningitis and tuberculosis and a 14-year-old boy with HIV, have been turned away. Two cancer patients waiting for operations were turned away due to no cancer drugs. These needy people are suffering from widespread famine and the ravages of a brutal 17-month war. Officials said they could only accommodate patients with food or money. A paediatric ward nurse said ten patients left when there was no more food: they said, ‘Pray for us; instead of dying here let’s go home and die there.’
High on this new drug, young people are acting violently against others and themselves, even to the point of committing suicide. But this is only a heartbreaking symptom of a much deeper problem. Many recall the horrific civil war twenty years ago. Those too young to remember still suffer from a traumatised society and broken families. Sierra Leonians are reminded of the past when they see the many without arms or legs, a trademark of the rebels. Additionally, 10,000 child soldiers were used in this conflict. The nation is recovering, though unemployment is as high as 80%, and only 43% of the nation is literate. People are looking for something - anything - to cope with their pain. While many have heard the Gospel, only 11% are followers of Jesus. Although drugs may temporarily numb them, we can pray for the love of Christ to heal them.
Since hostilities began last November, there have been rapes and massacres of civilians on a large scale. As far back as January, aid agencies were sounding alarms about how much worse the situation could get. Continued fighting, bureaucratic hurdles, and aid blockades have since led to a continuing famine affecting hundreds of thousands of people. More than two million people have been displaced from their homes, and tens of thousands have died. The declaration of a nationwide state of emergency by the federal government on Tuesday has triggered fears of more instability. The war has degenerated into a brutal conflict to crush and erode Tigray, and talk of elimination of entire ethnic groups has been normalised. The USA has sent a special envoy to Ethiopia for talks, and on 16 November there will be a meeting of the East African bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development to discuss the worsening conflict.
For months, Ethiopia’s civil war has raged in Tigray, demolishing infrastructure and threatening famine. Despite talks of ceasefire, no end to the violence is in sight. Most concerning is the involvement of Eritrean soldiers in the conflict. Pastor Eric Foley says they have destroyed two refugee camps in the Tigray region. ‘They took people who had escaped from Eritrea and were living in the camps back to Eritrea and imprisoned them. Those who escaped the raids fled further into Ethiopia. The Tigray Church is a beacon during all this chaos. People are gathering in churches, grieving at the churches, bringing dead bodies to churchyards to bury them in mass graves. The Gospel is still making a way for people to have hope. The Christians are opening their homes and doing all the things that Jesus taught us to do.’
The worst fighting between Israelis and Palestinians in seven years intensified this week, as Israeli airstrikes began targeting Hamas offices in Gaza City and militants in Gaza fired rockets at the metropolis of Tel Aviv, the southern city of Ashkelon and Israel’s main airport.
In Gaza, at least 67 Palestinians, including 15 children, had been killed by Tuesday night, and 203 others were wounded, according to health officials. In Israel, five people were killed in strikes on Tel Aviv, Ashkelon and Lod, and at least 100 were wounded, according to medical officials.
Away from the military conflict, a wave of civil unrest spread across Arab neighbourhoods as Palestinian citizens of Israel expressed fury at the killings in Gaza and longstanding complaints of discrimination inside Israel itself.
Towns with mixed Jewish and Arab populations have been struck by some of the worst communal violence that Israel has seen in years. Live footage was broadcast of far-right Israelis dragging a man they thought was an Arab from his car and beating him until he lay on the ground motionless and bloodied. Footage of the attack in Bat Yam, a Tel Aviv suburb, was broadcast live on TV. Those in the crowd justified the attack by saying the man was an Arab who had tried to ram the far-right nationalists, but the footage showed a motorist trying to avoid the demonstration.
At the same time, Arab protesters also took to the streets, triggering confrontations with Jews. They burnt cars and assaulted Jewish residents of mixed cities, according to police.
This all comes at a time when cities with mixed populations have been positive examples of co-existence but are now being destabilised by a small but destructive minority. As trust is damaged and moderate voices increasingly lost the fear is that violence will only continue to escalate.
The mayor of Lod, a city with both Jewish and Arab residents, warned that “civil war” was breaking out after Arab mourners clashed with police. The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called on both Jews and Arabs to cease attacks on each other: “It doesn’t matter to me that your blood is boiling. You can’t take the law in your hands,” he said.
The fighting between Israel and Hamas was triggered by days of escalating clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at a holy hilltop compound in East Jerusalem.
The site is revered by both Muslims, who call it the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), and Jews, for whom it is known as the Temple Mount. Hamas demanded Israel remove police from there and the nearby predominantly Arab district of Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinian families face eviction by Jewish settlers. Hamas launched rockets when its ultimatum went unheeded.
Palestinian anger had already been stoked by weeks of rising tension in East Jerusalem, inflamed by a series of confrontations with police since the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in mid-April.
It was further fuelled by the threatened eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem by Jewish settlers and Israel's annual celebration of its capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war, known as Jerusalem Day.
The UN have stepped in amid concerns that the region is heading towards a full-scale war. The UN envoy Tor Wennesland said leaders on all sides “have to take the responsibility of de-escalation” after a day of ferocious confrontations and the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, promising to intensify attacks on Gaza. “The cost of war in Gaza is devastating and is being paid by ordinary people,” said Wennesland. “Stop the fire immediately. We’re escalating towards a full-scale war,” he warned.
Read more insight into the situation surrounding Israel from Well Versed World.
Pray for peace and that the moderate voices calling for it will be heard above the explosions and gunfire.
Pray for the victims and their families that they may be comforted in their loss.
Pray for the political leaders in the region, that they will show wisdom in seeking an end to the violence and not seek political gain out of the situation.
Pray for all those living in fear that they may know the peace of God in these difficult times.
Pray for restoration of communities being torn apart by civil unrest and communal violence.
Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the Taliban Government refusing the USA’s demand for them to surrender Osama bin Laden, the longest war in US history began, killing 3,500 coalition soldiers and 110,000 Afghans. A Taliban insurgency continues, and its forces now control nearly 20% of Afghan territory. Almost half the land is ‘contested’, and the Taliban is stronger today than at any time since the war began. A large-scale US effort to defeat the Taliban would prove costlier than the American public (and therefore any president) is willing to bear. In February 2020 the Taliban agreed to stop their attacks on coalition forces and Afghan civilians, and the USA and NATO agreed to remove their forces by May 2021. Once that happens, there will be nothing to prevent civil war because Pakistan, India, Russia, Iran and others will back their own proxies. Nobody wants a vacuum of power in the country.
‘There are no heroes in Yemen, just criminals and victims’, said a human rights investigator. The victims are millions of ordinary Yemenis caught in a protracted proxy war that brought Yemen to its knees and turned it into the world's biggest humanitarian disaster. The lack of easy access to the country for journalists and international monitors means many Yemenis feel, as one doctor put it, that ‘we are screaming in pain, but no one is hearing’. Recently a Sky investigation team travelled hundreds of miles through armed checkpoints and rough terrain to gather testimonies from the victims, witnesses and survivors. Families in Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest municipality and once a cultural epicentre, have experienced some of the fiercest fighting during the six-year civil war between pro-government troops backed by a Saudi-led coalition (supported by the USA and the UK) and Houthi rebels, supported by Iran. Both sides are guilty of grave human rights abuses: see
Libya, a major oil producer, has been mired in turmoil since 2011 when Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in a NATO-backed uprising. In the first week of June the warring sides began new ceasefire talks in Libya. On 14 June the Turkish foreign minister and his Russian counterpart decided to put off the talks during a phone call; however, they said that it was important to prevent another failed ceasefire. Pray that there will be constructive positive talks for a lasting ceasefire without any more postponements. Pray for a spirit of unity to flow through all communication between the Iranian foreign minister, Turkish president Erdogan, and Russian president Putin. Pray also for an end to the heavy clashes that erupted recently despite a unilateral ceasefire proposal by Egypt.
Heavy fighting and airstrikes continue in the Libyan capital Tripoli. Three weeks ago, eastern commander General Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to seize it from the UN-recognised government of prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj. Over 200 people have been killed since fighting began, and the situation remains volatile for people living there. A resident told the BBC World Service, ‘We fear for our children, all they hear is loud explosions. Children are asking questions. Why is the school closed? Why are there no exams to sit? Some say they are not scared, and others are very frightened. Local authorities tell us when to stay at home if there is going to be trouble. We try to live a normal life, but some people cannot leave their houses, some cannot flee because the roads are closed, others have fled. Many have died or are injured when going out shopping. Bombing comes at any time, but mostly at night.’