(MNN) — Another imprisoned Christian in Eritrea has been martyred.
Voice of the Martyrs' Canada's Bernie Daniel says, "Nigsti Haile, aged 33, was tortured
to death by Eritrean authorities in the Wi'a Military Training center in
Massawa." She died September 5 after refusing to sign a letter
recanting her faith, according to a report from Open Doors USA.
Haile, an active member of the Rhema church, was one of ten Christian women
who were arrested at a church gathering in Keren eighteen months ago and who have been
under severe pressure to deny Christ.
The reported killing of Haile was expected to underscore
international concern about reports of persecution of Eritrean Christians.
"During the past year, at least four Christians have died from physical
mistreatment while under arrest," Open Doors explained.
Bernie Daniel is a former church leader from Eritrea, now serving with Voice of the Martyrs' Canada. Because the church community is small and closely knit, Daniels says the connections between believers is very tight. Each arrest grieves others and sends them to prayer. "Pray
fervently for our God to comfort those who are mourning for Nigsti and also for
God to embolden Christians."
According to several human
rights groups and church sources, at least 2,000 predominately Christian evangelicals are
detained in Eritrean prisons, police stations, military camps and other
facilities, including shipping containers.
In May 2002, the government banned all independent churches, closing
their buildings and preventing them from even meeting together in private
homes. That also led to mass arrests. Many of those taken into custody have remained imprisoned without charges, legal council or contact with family.
However, the Eritrean government has denied human rights abuses. That's prompted a petition by the European Center for Law and Justice to the United Nations. They're asking the U.N. to address the growing problem of forced
religious conversions around the world.
Daniel asks people to "Pray that God will
embolden Eritrean Christians to follow in her example of faithfulness at all
of the Martyrs' Canada
continues to reach into the region with radio.
Says Daniels, "We've also some radio broadcasts containing timely, relevant messages on
how we can be broadcast messengers of our Christ-centered Gospel in a very
trying and really suffering environment."
Pray for the safety of the 2000 Christian believers still being detained
without legal counsel or trial.