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Ethiopian Orthodox Church patriarch blasts Tigray ‘genocide (AP)

FILE – In this April 17, 2020, file photo, Abune Mathias, the 6th Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, uses hand sanitizer, to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, during an Orthodox Good Friday service at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in his first public comments on the war in the country’s Tigray region is sharply criticizing Ethiopia’s actions, saying he believes it’s genocide. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, File)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in his first public comments on the war in the country’s Tigray region is sharply criticizing Ethiopia’s actions, saying he believes it’s genocide: “They want to destroy the people of Tigray.”

In a video shot last month on a mobile phone and carried out of Ethiopia, the elderly Patriarch Abune Mathias addresses the church’s scores of millions of followers and the international community, saying his previous attempts to speak out were blocked. He is ethnic Tigrayan.

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