We were very glad to see last year that an African Pentecostal for the second time in a row was being awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize. Abiy Ahmed was motivated by his vivid, charismatic faith as he promoted peace talks and reconciliation in a nation filled with ethnic and religious conflict.
Like Denis Mukwege, I was hoping that Ahmed would show the world that the Pentecostal faith is more in line with peace and justice than war and egoism.
It is with a heavy heart that I now see that Ahmed is bringing his country into a civil war, with disastrous humanitarian consequences. The Guardian reports:
Violence in northern Ethiopia will probably drive 200,000 people into neighbouring Sudan over the coming months, UN agencies have warned, where food, shelter and medicine are urgently needed.
Fighting in the Tigray region has also left more than 2 million children in urgent need of assistance, with thousands more at risk in Sudanese refugee camps, Unicef said.
The agency is particularly worried over the possible spread of disease among the refugees, nearly half of whom are children.
The conflict is between Ahmed’s federal government and the local government in the northern region of Tigray. According to the BBC,
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which was the dominant political party in Ethiopia for decades, has been feuding with Mr Abiy’s government since shortly after he came to power in 2018.
Elected as a “reformist leader”, the prime minister accused officials in previous governments of corruption and human rights abuses, and removed key TPLF figures from the central government.
Regardless of his intentions, Ahmed’s choice to engage in armed conflict is disastrous for millions of his own population. As a fellow Pentecostal, I urge him to stop the fighting immediately and seek diplomatic options and help from the international community instead.
Please join me in prayer for ceasefire and for quick humanitarian assistance to all the refugees. Please also consider donating to UNHCR or another aid organization of your choice and put your prayer into action!
Micael Grenholm is a Swedish pastor, author, and editor for PCPJ.
Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice is a multicultural, gender inclusive, and ecumenical organization that promotes peace, justice, and reconciliation work among Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians around the world. If you like what we do, please become a member!