As War Goes On in Ethiopia, Ethnic Harassment Is on the Rise

As War Goes On in Ethiopia, Ethnic Harassment Is on the Rise By Simon Marks and Abdi Latif Dahir | The New York Times ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — On a bright day in mid-November, about a dozen police officers with machine guns barged into the home of Lisanewerk Desta, a theologian who is the head of the library and museum department at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and got to work. The men, who had no warrant, Mr. Desta said, poured dried goods from his kitchen onto the floor, emptied his clothes drawers and even looked inside his clay coffee pot, seemingly searching for something to incriminate him. They confiscated only one item, he said: his Ethiopian identification card, which shows that he is from the Tigray ethnic group. “I’m a scholar of the church, I’ve got nothing to be afraid of,” said Mr. Lisanewerk, who in an interview at his home shared photos and videos that his daughter had surreptitiously recorded of the raid. “But now I am under suspicion.” Tigrayans belong to one of about eight major ethnic groups in Ethiopia, and for nearly three decades, they were the dominant force in the country’s politics. But life for many Tigrayans began to change in early November after Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, launched a military operation in the northern region of Tigray, whose leaders have resisted Mr. Abiy’s drive to centralize power in the federal government. Nearly 50,000 Tigrayans have fled the country, in what the United Nations has called the worst exodus of refugees Ethiopia has seen in more than two decades. Read More from The New York Times Let's block ads! (Why?)

As War Goes On in Ethiopia, Ethnic Harassment Is on the Rise
As War Goes On in Ethiopia, Ethnic Harassment Is on the Rise

By Simon Marks and Abdi Latif Dahir | The New York Times

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — On a bright day in mid-November, about a dozen police officers with machine guns barged into the home of Lisanewerk Desta, a theologian who is the head of the library and museum department at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and got to work.

The men, who had no warrant, Mr. Desta said, poured dried goods from his kitchen onto the floor, emptied his clothes drawers and even looked inside his clay coffee pot, seemingly searching for something to incriminate him. They confiscated only one item, he said: his Ethiopian identification card, which shows that he is from the Tigray ethnic group.

“I’m a scholar of the church, I’ve got nothing to be afraid of,” said Mr. Lisanewerk, who in an interview at his home shared photos and videos that his daughter had surreptitiously recorded of the raid. “But now I am under suspicion.”

Tigrayans belong to one of about eight major ethnic groups in Ethiopia, and for nearly three decades, they were the dominant force in the country’s politics. But life for many Tigrayans began to change in early November after Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, launched a military operation in the northern region of Tigray, whose leaders have resisted Mr. Abiy’s drive to centralize power in the federal government.

Nearly 50,000 Tigrayans have fled the country, in what the United Nations has called the worst exodus of refugees Ethiopia has seen in more than two decades.

Read More from The New York Times

Let's block ads! (Why?)