There have been yet more arrests of Christians in Eritrea. Two pastors have been arrested and a third placed on house arrest. All three are in their 70s and from the same church in the country’s capital.
Eritrea is number 6 on the World Watch List; Christians in the country face extreme persecution for their faith
Your prayers are needed for three elderly pastors from Eritrea. Last week, two were arrested and a third placed on house arrest. They are all part of the Full Gospel Church in the country’s capital, Asmara.
Pastor Ghirmay (75) and Pastor Samuel (74) were taken from their homes in the middle of the night to an unknown location. Police also intended to arrest Pastor Georgio (72) – who has previously spent five years in prison – but when they found him sick in bed, they told him he was under house arrest until he is well enough to be taken into custody.
Eritrea is number 6 on the World Watch List. Despite almost half of the country’s people being Christians, those not from state-approved denominations face extreme persecution. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), Catholic Church and Lutheran Church are the only Christian denominations recognised by the government.
Last year, the government began releasing detained Christians. However, arrests continue to take place. In June, two Christian men were arrested in Asmara, and in March alone, 30 believers were detained in Asmara and the south-eastern city of Assab. Local sources estimate that Christian prisoners number anywhere between 600 and 1,200 Christians – with none formally charged.
In June, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Eritrea called on the Eritrean government to release those imprisoned for their faith ‘immediately and unconditionally’. You can read more from Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker in his annual report to the UN Human Rights Commission – and get the observations of Jo Newhouse, spokesperson for Open Doors’ work in sub-Saharan Africa – here.
Christians imprisoned in Eritrea are forced to live in inhumane conditions and are even subjected to torture. This is what could be facing the two pastors recently arrested. Please be in prayer for them, and all other believers in the country unjustly detained for following Jesus.
Explore Among the Ashes, a new film and prayer resource for churches from Open Doors. It looks at how the biblical principle of lament can bring us hope and comfort, even in the darkest situations.
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