A mob of Orthodox Church members led by priests attacked and killed an evangelical Christian pastor in his home two weeks ago in Merawi, a town in northwestern Ethiopia.
According to an Ethiopian evangelical who visited Merawi on July 21, Brother Dantew was fatally injured on the evening of July 17, several hours after he had asked for police protection for his church's new property and its members.
A teacher by profession, Dantew was the leading elder in Merawi's Full Gospel Church. Last May, authorities allocated land to the congregation for a church compound.
But when the congregation started to fence their new property on July 15, local Orthodox Church leaders reacted violently. That evening, a mob came and tore down the fence the church had built. Dantew informed the police and applied for their protection in writing. The next day they started constructing the fence again.
A night later, priests from the Mecha Wored Orthodox Church organized a larger, agitated mob to attack the compound; the attackers dismantled the fence and a storeroom on the property. Dantew sent messengers to the local police station for help. They found it unmanned.
By 9 p.m. that night, the evangelicals had fled to their homes, which they locked and barricaded after hearing gun shots. "We were hoping that the police would come to our rescue," said some of the evangelicals. "But it did not happen."
A half hour later, eyewitnesses said, a large mob surrounded Dantew's house, throwing stones and breaking down the fence and main gate. They smashed the doors, tore windows out of their frames, and even dismantled the roof.
When Dantew's wife, Tsige, was hit in the face by a stone, he begged her to try to escape from the house, which she managed to do. When ...1