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Eritrean Gov’t Intensifies Crackdown on Christians

The Christian Post

Saturday, Dec. 24, 2005

The Eritrean government is intensifying its efforts to crackdown on Christianity, jailing nearly 2,000 Christians held most indefinitely and without charge.

According to a recent estimate, about 1,778 Christians may currently be detained in Eritrea , reported Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

Persecution of Christians has increased to the extent that even the government-sanctioned Orthodox Church has been affected. Its Patriarch, Abune Antonios, was stripped of all administrative duties and placed under virtual house arrest this year, primarily for refusing to close down the Medhane Alem Church , CSW reported.

In addition, the government in October unexpectedly asked the Indian pastor of St. George’s Anglican Church in Asmara to leave the country when the church had begun to draw large numbers of young Eritreans to its services.

CSW also reported that many of the Christians detained in Eritrea are held at military bases.

In one case, Full Gospel Pastor Abraham Belay has reportedly been transferred to Wi’a, one of the hottest places on earth to undergo military training despite the fact that ministers of the gospel are meant to be exempt from military services.

Should war commence, it is feared that these Christians will be conscripted into the army and may face the prospect of being placed in the most dangerous areas of any frontline in order to both test their loyalty and ensure their deaths, CSW warned.

Christians who fought in the last war with Ethiopia indicate that this has happened and was common practice.