There is a call to prayer following a clash of tribes in Western Ethiopia; The Bishop of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, The Most Rev. Mouneer Anis, has issued a call to prayer for the brothers and sisters of the Lord caught in the middle. Here is his account: “This morning I woke up to the news that over 160 people had been slaughtered in the area of Gambella, Ethiopia within our Diocese. Many children were abducted, and cattle and food stolen. This news came from Rev Dr Johann W H van der Bijl, Dean of our St Frumentius’ Anglican Theological College, Gambella, Ethiopia. The fear is that this conflict may escalate and spread.”
According to a news wire service, members of the Murle tribe in South Sudan crossed into Ethiopia on April 15 and attacked the Nuer tribe, killing 140 and abducting dozens more. Ethiopian troops responded and fought back. Meanwhile, the government of South Sudan denies any involvement, though the Murle tribe is allied to the South Sudanese regime. Bishop Anis said, “Please pray for safety and wisdom for Bishop Grant LeMarquand [Suffragan Bishop in Gambella] and Rev Johann and all staff in the Anglican center and the churches in that area. Pray also for the people of this very inflamed region.”
Bishop Grant LeMarquand has released a newsletter regarding this incident and their current condition in the area. He writes about his visit to one of the villages affected by the crisis:
“As I got out of the vehicle the smell of burnt wood struck me. A hundred feet or so past where we parked we came around a corner – nothing but charred wood and ashes – more than 200 homes gone in one night. Our Anglican church was still standing – perhaps the attackers here had a sense of the fear of God that led them to spare that one building. If only they knew that the people they attacked were made in God’s image and more precious to Him than any building.”
With a growing refugee crisis fueled by the South Sudanese civil war; the Anuak-Nuer conflict, pitting each tribe against the other; and the recent attacks from the Murle tribe, the region of Gamballa has had a devastating year. Pillaging, raiding cattle, and abductions mark this period of time, with only the rainy season providing some relief, as the journey from South Sudan into the region becomes difficult when the rains come. At the same time another regional conflict between “highlanders” (non-Gambellan Ethiopians) and Gambellans broke out with vengeance killings on both sides.
The current Anglican Church in the area is immersed in suffering. Many church members have been killed, or their houses looted or burned in the many conflicts that have arisen in the past months. Some have had their children abducted. Bishop Grant writes, “Some have been directly hit, others have been stranded without means for food, unable to return to their home area.” The simplest and quickest way to help those caught in the crossfire would be through a donation to the Samaritan Fund, and Bishop Grant has asked for our consideration, prayers, and financial help if possible.
The Anglican Diocese in New England joins The Rt. Rev Dr. Grant Le Marquand, his family, and all the Ethiopian SAMS missionaries in prayer. Please pray for him and for his staff; pray for both the Anglican Church in the Gambella region and all Christians who bear the Name and are suffering; pray also for all the people there, that a miracle would happen and the Lord would bring peace.
If you would like to make a contribution in response to this crisis, please visit The Friends of the Anglican Diocese of Egypt. Funds can be donated online or by check. Please specify: Ethiopia – Samaritan Fund.