Latter-day Saints missionaries transferred out of Ethiopia due to civil unrest
SALT LAKE CITY – Sixty missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been transferred out of Ethiopia “due to growing concerns about civil unrest” in the country.
Church spokesperson Sam Penrod said the mission’s president, Robert J. Dudfield, and his wife, Darice B. Dudfield, have been moved to neighboring Kenya, along with the 60 missionaries.
“All missionaries will continue to serve under the direction of their mission president,” Penrod said. “Further decisions on where these missionaries will be assigned will be made as the situation in Ethiopia is evaluated. Our prayers are with the members of the Church and the people of Ethiopia as they face these difficult and unknown circumstances.”
Decisions regarding 10 of the 60 missionaries who are from Ethiopia were made “to best meet the individual needs of the missionaries and their families.”
According to the Associated Press, Ethiopia’s government declared a national state of emergency Tuesday as rival Tigray forces threaten to move on the capital and the country’s yearlong war escalated quickly.
The United States ordered non-emergency government employees and their families to leave the country and urged other U.S. citizens that they should “depart now” as fighters approach the capital of Addis Ababa.
All sides in Ethiopia’s war in the Tigray region have committed abuses marked by “extreme brutality” that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, the U.N. human rights chief said Wednesday.
There are just over 1,800 members of the Church in Ethiopia that meet in four branches, and the first official Church meeting was held in Addis Ababa in August 1992.
The first missionaries arrived in the country the following February and the Church was legally registered on Sept. 16, 1993.
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