A Christian man in southeastern Ethiopia fears for his life after a Muslim mob reportedly forced him out of his home and farm.
Fikere Mengistu’s family owned the land for more than 90 years, but Christians said some 20 Muslims want to take over the farm, located in Deder town’s Kufanzik village, to build a mosque.
Advocacy group International Christian Concern (ICC), which is assisting his family, told BosNewsLife that Muslims already “destroyed his fence and have looted his possessions”.
ICC accused local police of being compliit in these attempts to “steal” his land. Police officials have denied wrongdoing.
“Their first plan was to kill my husband,” Mengistu’s wife, Haregewoyan, said about the Muslim mob. “Now, he has escaped from the area. We are fasting and praying for God to rescue us from this forceful action,” she added in a statement distributed by ICC.
The reportedly harassment allegedly began when Mengistu built a house for his 93-year-old mother two years ago. Fearing that the village’s 38 Christians would use the house to gather for prayer, dozens of Muslims began to occupy his land and would remain for weeks at a time shouting “Allahu akhbar,” meaning “God is great”, according to Christians familiar with the case.
They reportedly destroyed his elderly mother’s home to drive the Mengistu family off their land, saying Mengistu’s land belonged to the government.
Following last year’s incident, Fikere Mengistu won legal battles to regain his land, but Muslims returned “and are attempting to take it by force”, Christians said.
“We did our best try to defend our faith based on the law of the country and with all our resources, including ICC budget, to pay for our legal expenses. Muslims are out of the control of the government and the law. What can we do?” the Mengistu family said.
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SOURCE: BosNewsLife Africa Service