Home » Tigray disaster: Ethiopia to restore al-Nejashi mosque

Tigray disaster: Ethiopia to restore al-Nejashi mosque

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picture copyrightSocial media
picture captionLocals imagine the al-Nejashi Mosque is the oldest in Africa
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The Ethiopian authorities has promised to restore a centuries-old mosque that was broken final month through the battle within the northern Tigray area.

The al-Nejashi Mosque was reportedly shelled and looted, and the tombs of historic Islamic figures broken.

The authorities stated a close-by church broken through the battle would even be repaired.

Locals imagine al-Nejashi was constructed by the primary Muslims emigrate to Africa through the time of Prophet Muhammad.

They had fled persecution in Mecca and got refuge in what was then the Kingdom of Aksum.

Local Muslims imagine that 15 disciples of Prophet Muhammad are buried within the broken tombs.

They additionally say the mosque is the oldest in Africa, although others imagine that title belongs to 1 in Egypt.

The mosque is in Wukro city, some 800km (500 miles) from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

An Orthodox Christian church named Saint Emmanuel was additionally broken, however additional particulars are unavailable.

A Turkish support company launched a mission in 2015 to renovate the mosque, saying it wished to “preserve the heritage” of the monument and wished it to turn out to be a serious vacation spot for “religious tourism”.

al-Nejashi mosque
picture captionThe mosque was renovated with Turkey’s assist

The mosque and close by church have been broken through the month-long army operation that led to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) being ousted from energy within the area on 28 November.

What occurred to the mosque?

A Belgium-based non-profit organisation, Europe External Programme with Africa, reported on 18 December that al-Nejashi Mosque was “first bombed and later looted by Ethiopian and Eritrean troops“.

“Tigrayan sources are saying that people have died trying to protect the mosque,” it added.

The authorities has not commented on the reviews. Both the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments additionally deny that Eritrean forces are in Tigray to assist in the combat in opposition to the TPLF.

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More concerning the combating in Tigray:

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On Monday, Ethiopian state tv quoted residents as saying that TPLF forces had dug trenches across the mosque, with out giving any extra particulars.

The authorities has imposed heavy restrictions on the media in Tigray, making it tough to know what precisely is going on. Access to Tigray has additionally been restricted for support staff.

In a BBC Amharic interview, the deputy director of the Ethiopian Heritage Preservation Authority, Abebaw Ayalew, stated a group could be despatched to examine the injury to each the mosque and church earlier than they’re repaired.

“These sites are not only places of worship. It is also the heritage of the whole of Ethiopia,” he stated.

media captionIs this the house of the Ark of the Covenant?

How dangerous has the battle been?

It is unclear what number of have been killed within the battle, however Mr Abiy beforehand stated that the army didn’t kill a single civilian through the operation that led to the TPLF’s removing from energy.

UN and different human rights our bodies are calling for an unbiased investigation into allegations of in opposition to all sides, together with the bloodbath of civilians and the shelling and looting of residential areas and a hospital.

More than 50,000 folks have fled to Sudan to flee the combating.

What is the combating about?

The battle broke out in early November, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a army offensive in opposition to regional forces in Tigray.

He stated he did so in response to an assault on army bases housing authorities troops in Tigray.

The battle got here after months of feuding between Mr Abiy’s authorities and leaders of the TPLF – the area’s dominant political social gathering.

For nearly three a long time, the social gathering was on the centre of energy, earlier than it was sidelined after Mr Abiy took workplace in 2018 within the wake of anti-government protests.

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Five issues about Tigray:

1. The Kingdom of Aksum was centred within the area. Described as one of many biggest civilisations of the traditional world, it was as soon as probably the most highly effective state between the Roman and Persian empires.

Ruins of the palace of the Queen of Sheba near Axum, Aksum, Dongur Palacepicture copyrightGetty Images
picture captionAksum is believed to have been the house of the biblical Queen of Sheba

2. The ruins of town of Aksum are a UN World Heritage Site. The website, courting from between the first and 13th Century AD, options obelisks, castles, royal tombs and a church which is believed by some to deal with the Ark of the Covenant.

3. Most folks in Tigray are Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. The area’s Christian roots stretch again 1,600 years.

4. The area’s predominant language is Tigrinya, a Semitic dialect with at the least seven million audio system worldwide.

5. Sesame is a serious money crop, exported to the US, China and different international locations.

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