30 More Christians Arrested in Eritrea—Renounce Your Faith or Go to Jail

June 4, 2019 by Lindy Lowry in Africa

The crackdown on Christians in Eritrea continues. Reportedly, more than 30 Christians (members of Pentecostal churches) were arrested by security forces in recent days. This report comes on the heels of recent news of arrests of 141 Christians, mostly women, in the nation’s capital city of Asmara.

According to the most recent report, police stopped them in three different places, again in Asmara.

“Police officers carry out continuous raids in private homes where devotees of unrecognized religions, especially Pentecostal Christians, meet for community prayer,” the report said. “They are released only if they disavow their faith.”

Intensifying Friction in Asmara

A crackdown on Christians continues through Eritrea’s capital city of Asmara.

The report also refers to intensifying difficulties between the church and Ertitrea’s government. Authorities are demanding the “full control” of all religious organizations, such as private schools, medical clinics and orphanages.

“The authorities, in fact, demand the full control of all organizations of religious origin, such as private schools, medical clinics and orphanages” the report indicated—all of which provide needed support to the Eritrean population.

Some 66 percent of all Eritreans live below the poverty line; and there remains an extreme lack of resources and poverty alleviation programs.

Only a couple weeks ago, police rounded up 141 Christians, including 23 men, 104 women and 14 minors from Asmara’s Mai Temenai area. Reportedly, officials separated the men and women before taking the women to Police Station Number 4 and the men to Adi Abeito prison, the main prison for Asmara and the surrounding areas. It’s not known where the 14 minors were held.

The ‘North Korea of Africa’

Eritrea’s intricate prison system is known for its brutality, including jailing prisoners in metal shipping containers in the scorching heat–weather conditions that often permeate the country’s tropical desert climate.

Since 1993, Eritrea President Isaias Afwerki has overseen an authoritarian brutal regime that rests on massive human rights violations. Known as the “North Korea of Africa,” the country in the Horn of Africa is consistently in the top 10 on Open Doors’ World Watch List; this year it ranks at No. 7.

Praying for Believers in Eritrea

Top photo: Christians come together to worship and pray in a secret location in Eritrea.