Dear prayer partners,

On Monday 29 June, on the southern outskirts of Addis Ababa, Hachalu Hundessa, a famous Ethiopian musician, and an Oromo rights activist was gunned down. His body was rushed to the nearby Tirunesh Beijing General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His death sent shockwaves across the country, specifically in Oromia, and triggered major protests in Addis Ababa and elsewhere throughout Ethiopia over the ensuing week.

To prevent further unrest, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed imposed an internet blackout across the country, preventing the sending of emails, instant messages or WhatsApp. However, protests continued across Oromia. In Adama, several buildings were set alight, and in Addis Ababa, gunshots and three explosions were heard. At least 160 people were killed in the clashes and more than 1,000 arrested, including leading figures of the Oromo opposition parties. Police said that several suspects in Hundessa’s murder had been arrested.

Mr Abiy – in office since October 2018 – is known as a man of peace, having won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his reconciliation efforts with neighbouring Eritrea. Mr Abiy has introduced numerous political and economic adjustments, including granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, but his reforms have also aggravated ethnic rivalries and violence. Increased political tension in the capital Addis Ababa has opposition groups warning that a further postponement of the upcoming general election would create a constitutional crisis.

Relations between Egypt and Ethiopia are also near breaking point over a giant dam project on the Nile. At a virtual meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Egypt warned of conflict if Ethiopia proceeds with plans to fill the dam. On Saturday 4 July, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia held a second round of talks where they continued discussing the rules for filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). They reached consensus on 90 percent of the proposed agreement during the June negotiations.

Christians make up about 60% of Ethiopia’s population – the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the largest pre-colonial Christian church of Africa, has a membership of 32 to 36 million, while various Protestant congregations make up a total *24% of Ethiopian Christians. Mr Abiy (born of a Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Christian mother) is a professing Christian and is known to occasionally preach and teach at the Ethiopian Full Gospel Believers’ Church.

Please join with us in praying for the Lord’s peace to prevail in Ethiopia – for the upcoming general elections and for the ongoing negotiations between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

“We cannot run our spiritual operations on the prayers of the past generation.” (E. M. Bounds)


*Figure updated according to information sourced from The Economist (2018)