Another arrest of believers in Eritrea points to a threat.

By September 15, 2005

Eritrea (MNN)–While news of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation took center stage, continued whispers of the persecution of Eritrea’s Christians were lost.

Voice of the Martyrs Canada’s Glenn Penner explains that on September 4th, police arrested a Christian couple as they were getting married, dragging them and eighteen of the guests away to prison.

The family intentionally avoided any music or noticeable Christian activities to avoid attracting the attention of the authorities, but apparently the police were tipped off about the wedding.

Among those imprisoned are two key leaders of the Hallelujah Church, Aklilu Habteab and Kashay Imbaye, as well as Zerit Gebreneguse, an evangelist in the Philadelphia Church. Friends and relatives have been allowed no contact with the prisoners to this point.

Penner says the arrests have revealed an unsettling truth that may threaten the unity of the church in Eritrea. “There seems to be increasingly, informers within the church, or who are connected with the church, that are tipping the authorities off about church activities.”

It’s an insidious threat, adds Penner. “We have to remember that the Eritrean security was trained by the East German Stasi, who were experts at recruiting informers from within religious groups.”

When asked what can be done to help the persecuted church in Eritrea, Penner says physical aid isn’t the answer. “We can be trying to get aid into the country but the fact of the matter is, it’s extraordinarily difficult. Right now, the biggest thing that people can be doing is praying for the Eritrean believers, writing to our governments protesting what has been going on with religious minorities, and letting the Eritrean government themselves, know.”

Over one thousand Christians are presently imprisoned for their faith in Eritrea, including seventeen Protestant pastors.

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