News from our American confrère Paul Reilly from Adrigat, Tigray, Northern Ethiopia received today 27 December
Apologies for the quality as the posts are written on tablet from a bed hospital.
Dear family, friends, confreres, everyone…
First off, I am alive, safe and sound. Just yesterday (December 26th), I managed, along with two other M.Afr. priests, one religious sister, and five M.Afr. seminarians (aspirants), to get out of the Tigray region where we have been living in the midst of a terrible civil war since the night of 3/4 November. The journey was long (13 hour drive) to get here to our Missionaries of Africa community in Kombolcha, where I am now. We weren’t sure that we could get out and had no idea what would happen to us along the way, but by the middle of last week we had started to hear that vehicles were moving along the roads again and we just had to try. The situation in Tigray is still very dangerous and things change daily depending upon where new fighting breaks out, but our journey went as well as it could have. There were plenty of military checkpoints, but we managed to pass without difficulty. So now I am out of danger and in a safe place, thanks be to God and to all those who kept us in their prayers.
I’m sorry I wasn’t able to keep in touch during this difficult time. Since 3/4 November, all lines of communication were cut and still are in Adigrat. Once the TPLF forces abandoned the town on 20th November, we lost all electricity and water for one month, before they were restored about a week ago. Food was getting scarce and the banks have been closed since the beginning of the war, so cash to buy even things on the black market was scarce as well. When the TPLF forces left, Eritrean soldiers took over the town and have been in control without mercy since. Many people were killed, property looted and fear has become a way of life for everyone there, including our community.
Thankfully, all of the priests and sisters (including M.Afr. confreres) working in the diocese are alive (according to the information we currently have available). More than that, I can’t say for sure. At the moment, four Missionaries of Africa confreres remain in Adigrat. They are fine, but the security situation is still very disturbing. Please keep them and all the people of Adigrat in your prayers, as no matter what you hear in the international media, this conflict is far from over and peace has definitely not yet come to northern Ethiopia.
As for me, I’m fine… all I can write for now is that it was a difficult time… more details will have to come later as I don’t want to write them down in a general email. I think I will need time to recover and process all this. For sure, we all managed to stay safe thanks to your support and prayers and for that I am eternally grateful. Please let anyone else concerned about me know that I am ok and we can be in touch on a personal basis later. For now, I look forward to some rest and the peace of mind to know that I am no longer in danger. For those who remain in Adigrat, we keep them all at the forefront of our minds and in our daily prayers.
Thank you all for your concern for me which means so much. May 2021 be a better year for all of us and may the Prince of Peace bless and heal Ethiopia!
Blessings to all,