Ethiopia: Gondar government covering up Muslims’ massacre committed last week, says Gondar City Administration Islamic Affairs Supreme Council. The Muslim organization has released a detailed statement. The religious violence in the Gondar city followed ethnic clashes at the start of last month between Oromo and Amhara groups in the Amhara-Oromia border areas. Read more..
It was the 27th of April 2022 when in the Gondar city of the Amhara region, clashes broke out between Muslims and Orthodox Christians.
“The violence that started on the 27th of April 2022 and lasted till the 29th targeted the Muslim community. The aggressive attack started when the Muslim community was attending a burial ceremony of a well-known elderly person named Sheik Kassim Legas, regarded as an elderly father and a community leader by both Muslims and Christians. The burial ceremony was at Sheik Elias Cemetery, the oldest graveyard owned by Muslims. Muslims participating in the funeral were shockingly attacked using hand bombs & machine guns”, says the statement.
The Gondar Muslims’ organization further says that the attack went on to claim many lives, leaving scores of Muslims wounded by the perpetrators. Scores of women were raped while several mosques were burned, demolished & stoned. Similarly, the shops and businesses of Muslims were selectively looted and burned in a premeditated manner. Individual houses were also attacked & burned.
One of the shocking claims shared by the Muslim organization is that Gondar city’s local government officials are involved in attempts to cover up the incident. “Quite, unfortunately, local government structure helped aggressively in removing the residue and stain of the criminal violence, which is clearly a coverup against accountability”, accuses the Muslim organization.
“Though a relatively peaceful situation is created since the command post took charge of the overall security situation, the hunt down & targeting of individual Muslims have continued, forcing a significant number of Muslims to spend nights in mosques without food and other supplies during the fasting season. Hence, we demand the government protect the Muslim community and released arrested innocent Muslims”, demands the body.
Without naming anyone, the organization is demanding action against government officials in high positions, who allegedly supported the heinous crime against Gondar Muslims.
The Islamic affair Supreme Council has called into question the ongoing investigation into the massacre as well. It says that the government effort in gathering evidence about the situation, investigating the overall incident, identifying criminals, and assessing the magnitude of the criminal action and its impact on the lives and properties of Muslims has been greatly biased. There were deliberate actions to ignore evidence and wrongly present the reality. The council demands objectivity & justice in undertaking the task. No data should be collected without the council’s oversight and approval.
At the end of the statement, the council levels allegations against government officials and some outlets saying that some government officials and national media outlets tried to change the narrative by adding misleading information and oversimplifying the event. They have tried to hide the reality and instead of assessing the real loss of life & property of the Muslim community suffered during the attack, the Regional City Administration has resorted to giving out misleading press statements without the recognition of our council which we believe is a breach of mandate.
While a relative calm has returned to the Gondar city after Tuesday’s religious violence, tensions remain between Gondar Muslims and other religious groups. Yesterday Amhara regional government announced that 373 persons had been arrested in connection with the incident.