Ethiopians, many of whom practice the Ethiopian Orthodox faith, were overjoyed to be able to celebrate the Orthodox Christmas celebrations, held over the weekend of 7 January 2022, in the holy city of Lalibela. The city, which had in the space of 5 weeks been overtaken by the TPLF and then freed by the Ethiopian military, was flooded
with thousands of pilgrims, who were there to celebrate Christmas. The town, renowned for its rock churches hewn into mountains, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although the pilgrims were very happy to be able to travel and move around mostly free, there was still a marked security presence by armed Ethiopian soldiers, who were deployed to stem any possibility of a TPLF resurgence. A holiday maker, Achashmar Dereje, was happy to be there, saying, “I came here to celebrate the holiday with the faith that God will save us if something bad happens.”
Aid workers have suspended activities in Tigray, following a deadly airstrike that hit a camp of displaced people. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in a statement on Sunday said, “humanitarian partners have suspended their activities in the area due to continued threats of drone strikes.” The airstrike, which hit around midnight on Friday 7 January, “caused dozens of civilian casualties, including deaths’, in the IDP camp. The airstrike, according to TPLF rebels, is the work of the government, with a total of 55 casualties and 126 injured people. In a twitter post on Sunday, Getachew Reda, the TPLF spokesperson, accused the Eritrean army of being responsible for the attacks, in support of the Ethiopian government. He accuses Eritrea of trying to “sabotage all peace efforts in the region, supposedly to protect Ethiopia’s unity”. The Tigray provincial administrator, Teklay Gebremedhin, was emphatic in his insistence that the people of Tigray should continue the resistance, saying, “Our people are also paying the price at the war fronts…and the people paying this price should not be alarmed and terrorized by these attacks and should finish their struggle with their heads held high”.
Below: After the airstrike: