ETHIOPIA: Detained Religious Sisters Released From Custody


ADDIS ABABA, JANUARY 18, 2022 (CISA) – Catholic Religious Sisters who were arrested and detained by the Ethiopian Government on November 30, have been released on January 15. However, the two Deacons with whom they were arrested, are still in custody.

According to Vatican news agency, Agenzia Fides, the Sisters; Sr Letemaryam Sibhat, Sr Tiblets Teum, Sr Abeba Tesfay, Sr Zaid Moss, Sr Abeba Hagos and Sr Abeba Fitwi, of the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity Saint Vincent de Paoli and Sr Abrehet Teserma, a member of the congregation of Ursulines of Gandino, were confirmed to have been released and in good health.

“Having heard her directly, I can say with certainty that she is well and in good general condition,” said Mother Raffaella Pedrini, Superior General of the Ursulines of Gandino.

The Superior General who had previously expressed anxiety over the prolonged detainment of the sisters and the mystery that surrounded the arrests said, “I spoke to her directly and found her to be very calm and generally in good shape. She still does not know the reasons why she was arrested, nor why they released her. After so much fear and concern, now is the time for happiness, there will be time to understand what happened and why our sister was imprisoned.”

Mother Raffaella also revealed that Sr Abrehet Teserma was seemingly treated well in prison.

“Sister Abrehet was imprisoned first in a courtyard of a police building and then she was transferred to a large room where she lived with a hundred people, all of them women, arrested in the same period. Our sister was the only nun, the others were very young girls,” she said in an interview with Agenzia Fides.

“After moments of anguish and so much suffering we were finally able to thank the Lord for the liberation of our sister and the other nuns. In the conversations that I had with our community in Ethiopia, we always felt the hope and, at the same time, the conviction of being part of a people and of sharing their sufferings, of living in full solidarity with so many brothers and sisters,” said Mother Raffaella.

Their release coincides with the culmination of a 14-month-long civil war that destabilised the country after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) declared a unilateral ceasefire and unconditional withdrawal from various regions in the country.

The Mother Superior, however, maintained that they will ascertain the real reason behind the arrest, “We cannot accept that everything happens without an explanation of the reasons. According to what our nuns tell us, it will be difficult to obtain information, but we will insist because the affair cannot remain suspended: we demand answers.”