Unrest threatens freedom in Horn of Africa.

By January 9, 2007

Africa (MNN)–The Horn of Africa is on the edge. It’s made up of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, which is currently facing instability that threatens to spread throughout the region.

There are concerns that peace will continue to elude Somalia as the transitional government is made up of warlords who are partly responsible for the situation facing the country.

As the threat of hardline Islam threatens the region, alliances have formed and threaten to destablize the whole region should the wrong dominoe tip.

Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton says the tinderbox situation is problematic for the church. While the region claims to allow religious freedom, it’s known for being among the worst persecutors of the church. “When you talk about the unrest that’s there and in some cases, the outright violence that is going on in those nations, obviously, that makes the Christians even more on edge about their safety, about their prospects of growing the church there.”

It’s a challenge, says Nettleton, for outside Christians to support evangelistic work inside the Horn of Africa even in the best of times. Given the insecurity, it makes things worse. “E-mail is sometimes watched, phone calls are listened to, travel is extremely restricted, and so it is very dangerous and very challenging for groups like the Voice of the Martyrs to provide any kind of help or encouragement or assistance to those Christians.”

While some support is going into these areas, Nettleton says security issues make it smarter not to discuss their plans.

Please continue to pray for the release of more than 2000 Eritrean Christians that include most the leadership of the evangelical churches in the nation. Pray for God’s grace to abound in them in prison as they suffer for Christ’s sake with love and prayer for their persecutors.

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