Eritrea (MNN) — Open Doors
says Eritrean military officials have rounded up another group of evangelical
Christians this week.
Authorities arrested 35 believers
on July 3 on suspicion of gathering for worship in Assab, a port city. The group, which included 17 women, was taken to
the Adi-Nefase military camp near Assab, a notoriously harsh detention center.
Open Doors also reports that
25 Christian students from Mai-Nefhi Educational Institution (roughly 12 miles southwest
of Asmara) have been released on bail in order to sit for their final exams.
They may have been part of a group of students arrested at the beginning of
June for "unpatriotic behavior." Sources in the country expect the students to
be taken back into custody as soon as their exams have been completed.
pressures continue on the sanctioned Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelical Lutheran
and Islamic groups to enroll their religious workers under the age of 30 for
compulsory military training. All but the
Catholic Church have complied, protesting that in the past, church workers were exempted
from military service because of their religious duties.
Despite these stories and others about open persecution, the government
continues to support its statement issued in May 2003 that "no groups or
persons are persecuted in Eritrea for their beliefs or religion."
Eritrea ranks 12th
on the Open Doors 2011 World Watch List, a compilation of the top 50 countries where
persecution of Christians is the worst.
That said, believers in
Eritrea ask for prayer for their country, where at least 1,000 religious prisoners
endure harrowing incarceration conditions country-wide. According to
Voice of the Martyrs Canada, of the Christians in detention, "not one has yet
been charged with a crime or faced trial."
Pray that the government will stop the campaign against evangelicals and
will allow freedom of religion for all.