By Bruce Finley
The beheading and shooting of 30 Ethiopian migrants by Islamic State fighters last week in Libya is tormenting metro Denver’s 30,000-strong Ethiopian-American community.
Some say they couldn’t eat or sleep after watching horrific videos.
On Saturday night, more than 500 gathered at St. Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Church to mourn. They held candles, sang, wept and prayed before photos of the victims.
“It is incomprehensible for our minds to understand how any human being could do such a thing to another. We stand together to mourn our brethren and pray for peace,” community spokesman Neb Asfaw said. “The terrorists will not break our spirit. We stand together with our faith strengthened by the courage our brothers showed.”
Sefne Eshete Worku prays with fellow congregants at St. Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Church honoring the 30 Ethiopian Christians were killed by ISIL in Libya on Saturday, April 25, 2015. (The Denver Post)
It is a community that knows terror too well, rooted in the Cold War-era flow of refugees fleeing famine and political persecution in Ethiopia. Soviet-backed rulers used systematic torture. Resettling in Denver, the refugees thrived, starting families and businesses that range from restaurants to car dealerships.
A 29-minute video circulated last Sunday by the Islamic State showed dozens of militants holding separate groups of migrants captive in Libya. Islamic State operatives described the captives as “followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church.” They were lined up and shot in a desert. A dozen were filmed as militants marched them along a beach before beheading them. Images of bloody severed heads appeared on Internet videos. Some videos now have been removed from websites.
Candlelight Vigil for Ethiopian ISIL Victims to be Held in NY & Photos From DC (Tadias)
Addressing Ethiopia’s Migrant Crisis (Tadias)
Grief Mixes With Anger Over Christian Ethiopian Deaths (NY Times)
Anti-ISIL rally turns violent in Ethiopia (AlJazeera)
Ethiopian police tear-gas crowds protesting against Libya killings (Reuters)
Protest held in Ethiopia over killings by Islamic extremists (AP)
Ethiopians struggle to come to terms with beheadings of compatriots in Libya (Reuters)
Ethiopians Shocked by Islamic State Killings (AP)
Ethiopia in Mourning for Victims of Islamic State Violence (BBC)
Ethiopia Declares 3 Days of Mourning for Citizens Killed by Islamic State in Libya (VOA)
Ethiopia Condemns Purported Executions in Libya of Christians (AFP)
Video: Islamic State kills Ethiopian Christians in Libya (AP)
ISIS ‘executes’ Ethiopia Christians in Libya (Al-Arabiya)
ISIS Video Purports to Show Killing of Ethiopian Christians in Libya (NY Times)