By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (BosNewsLife)-- Christians in Ethiopia were mourning Thursday, April 28, after Muslim extremists reportedly killed an evangelist and assaulted his pregnant wife.
The attack happened last week, April 21, in the south-central town of Worabe, an area that is 97 percent Muslim, Christian rights activists said.
"Muslims lured Evangelist Abraham Abera from Kale Hiwot Church, his home and place of ministry, and told him that his friend was sick and needed immediate attention. Abraham left with the men, who turned on him, beating him with rods," explained advocacy group International Christian Concern (ICC) in a statement.
ICC, which has close contacts with Christians in the region, said the evangelist's pregnant wife, Birtukan, was also attacked when she tried to intervene. "Abraham died on the spot and his wife, who sustained a severe head injury, was left unconscious in the street. She was found and taken to a hospital in [the town of] Butajira, where she regained consciousness on April 22 and was able to recount the details of the attack," ICC added.
Birtukan reportedly said that as Muslims were beating her and her husband, they told them, "You (Christians) are growing in number in our area. You are spreading your message (the gospel). We will destroy you."
Though Birtukan did suffer injuries to her mid-section, her unborn baby "did fortunately survive the attack,"ICC added. Ethiopian officials could not immediately be reached amid reports that the suspects remain at large.
Birtukan reportedly said she knew at least two two of the attackers. She said Christians have suggested that the men may not be arrested because local officials are also Muslims.
"Christians in Worabe and its surrounding areas are persecuted at the hands of Muslim radicals, and the local government officials, who are Muslims, don’t protect Christians. We urge the higher government authorities [state and federal officials] to intervene and protect us," ICC quoted an unidentified Christian leader as saying.
"The brutal killing of Evangelist Abraham and the beating of his wife, Birtukan, is deeply troubling. We urge the federal government authorities to investigate this latest attack as well as reports of persecution against Christians in the Silte zone," stressed Jonathan Racho, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa.