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Open Letter to UNESCO to pressure the Ethiopian Government to stop firing heavy weapons from the world heritage site in Lalibela.

September 21, 2023

Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes
@YirgaGelaw

Today, a friend in #Lalibela directly called me to alert the world about heavy artillery firing in the town. I have now spoken to multiple residents about what is happening. They all report that heavy weaponry has been fired all night from Shimbrima, a few miles away from the historic rock churches of Lalibela. Residents say that the vibration and noise can be felt strongly at the churches.

The people are worried that the rock churches, which are under heavy unstable shelters, could be destroyed by this incessant firing. They also report that the heavy weapons are being fired towards ancient historical sites including Bilbala Giorgis, Bilbala Kirkos, Sarzina Michael, Yemrehana Kirstos and many others spiritual and heritage sites that date as far back as the 5th century.

The residents of Lalibela are deeply traumatised not just because of the heavy weaponry firing from their town but also from the fear that their spiritual and cultural heritages are in danger. We urge #UNESCO to pressure the Ethiopian government to stop firing heavy weapons from the world heritage site in Lalibela.

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