Eritrea– arrests total almost one hundred Christians in the past month.

“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”Revelation 2:10

More arrests

31st May 2017

eritrea-map-adi-qualagindaThe Eritrean security forces have arrested almost one hundred Christians in the past month.

On 21 May, 49 evangelicals were arrested outside the capital, Asmara, at a post-wedding Hamauti celebration. A Hamauti takes place a week after the wedding at the couple’s home, for friends and relatives to eat, sing, dance and pray together. The bride (name not released) and groom (Tedro Negel), in their late 20s, were among those arrested.

On 17 May, security officials arrested more than 35 Christians from their homes in Adi Quala, a market town 25 km from the Ethiopian border in Eritrea’s Southern Region. They are being held in cells in the local police station. The arrests came after security officials accompanied by representatives of the Eritrean Orthodox Church started a house-to-house search on 15 May.

A group consisting of an Orthodox Church official, an assistant, a local administration officer and a security official visited every home in Adi Quala. They told residents they were verifying food vouchers, but when residents presented their vouchers, the officials made all family members assemble and say whether they were Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness, Orthodox, Lutheran Church, Catholic or Pentecostal. The next day, the security officers went door-to-door in Adi Quala to arrest all who said they were Pentecostal.

A source told World Watch Monitor that similar searches were conducted in several parts of the Central Region, and said: “Those who identified themselves as Pentecostals in the Central Region have not been arrested but the level of fear amongst the believers has greatly increased.

On 9 May, officials arrested ten Christians from a home in Ginda, northeast of Asmara. The four women and six men are being held at Ginda Police Station. Sources said neighbours had reported to local town leaders that Christians were holding meetings.

In 2002, the Eritrean government closed all churches except Eritrean Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran. Since then, members of illegal churches have met in secret in people’s homes, but the authorities target them and have raided countless Christian homes. Members of permitted churches are also at risk if they criticise the regime. Read more about the persecution of Christians in Eritrea.

The Eritrean government started a fresh crackdown against Christians in May and it is continuing. What makes this persecution different is that whole families are now being arrested and whereas in the past most were picked up at Bible studies or Christian services now believers are being arrested at their homes.

Security officials accompanied by an Orthodox priest are turning up at homes and questioning people over their religious affiliation. All except Muslims, Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran are liable for arrest.

So far about 160 Christians have been arrested, including families with children. In the capital Asmara 49 people were arrested from Enda Korea during a wedding celebration. Christians in the northern Red Sea region have also been rounded up.

According to our partner, 12 children, one as young as two months, are now in prison with their parents in Adi Quala. One Christian who tried to ask about the Adi Quala prisoners was also arrested.

Unbelievably more than 30 children have been left without parents or guardians and the security police are monitoring them to make sure they do not get support from the Christian community.

Christians are also being detained and sent to the desert island of Nakhura in the Red Sea, where weather conditions are extreme.Pray173 Campaign

Please pray now for all those who have been affected by these arrests, especially for the children in prison and those left to fend for themselves.

Pray for an end to this cruel treatment of believers.

Join our Pray173 prayer campaign to help bring freedom for long-term prisoners of faith in Eritrea.

Please forward this email to Christian friends so that they can pray and act too.

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