Africa-Press – Ethiopia. A local official in Ethiopia’s Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) on Friday confirmed the arrival of hundreds of Ugandan Christians to the region.
The official however, dismissed reports alleging that they were fleeing to escape the end of the world.
“The Ugandan religious pilgrims didn’t come to Ethiopia to escape doomsday. This is a wrong information,” deputy governor of Yangatom district, Mr Lokinganiga Murle, told the local BBC Amharic.
“They are here [Yangatom district] to visit the area and to deliver the message sent from their church,” he added.
The official’s remarks contradict with a statement issued earlier by the Ethiopian government.
Mr Meles Alem, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday told journalists that hundreds of Ugandans had entered Ethiopia through southern Ethiopia, claiming that the end of the world was approaching, and Ethiopia is the only safe place to escape to.
However, the regional official stated that they have explained about the Ugandans to the authorities from the Federal Security Office who recently traveled to the regional district to investigate the situation.
According to the deputy governor, a total of 277 members of the sect called Christ Disciples Church (CDC), including women and children arrived in the district over the past few weeks.
“They are being sheltered in church reception and private residences,” he said.
Mr Murle further recalled about religious pilgrims from Kenya’s Turkana, South Sudan and Uganda, who spoke the same language, participated in a previous festival organized by Yangatom district.
“The Ugandans came to visit our area because they believe that the Yangatom community historically originates from Uganda” he said.
They told us they will be going back to Uganda but didn’t say when.
“It was not raining when they arrive here. They said they will stay until it starts to rain. Once rain starts, we will give you seeds and then we will return home. This is the message God told us” the deputy governor said referring to what they told the local administration.
Angatom, a district in Ethiopia’s South Omo Zone, is one of the most drought-affected areas in Ethiopia, with several herds reported dead and people displaced recently.
The deputy governor added that currently their district is receiving heavy rains.
The Ugandan police, in its preliminary investigation said the sect members fled to escape the end of the world, which they believed would start to strike from their area.
The members of the sect were told by their leaders that their area would soon be hit with death and all the people there would die.
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