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MNN (04/10/06) – Voice of the Martyrs’ Canada sources in Ethiopia say pressure on believers is increasing.

Christians in the area reported churches being burned in the northeast just a few weeks ago. Authorities are aware of rising tensions against evangelicals in the past month.

Early investigation of threats found weapons and plans for murdering area believers. During subsequent attacks on the churches, VOMC says local police provided an accelerant used to burn the churches and urged the attackers to work quickly before federal police arrived to intervene.

Yet, in spite of the violence and the loss of their facilities, all the local churches have met for worship on Sunday, meeting in the mud since their buildings were reduced to ashes.

Local police have been arresting anyone accused of spreading the Gospel. Five church leaders are in custody. They are: Bocka Abdeta Mekaneyesus, Tena Beyene, Abessa, Tesfaye Negga and Eressa Eyu. Ten others are being sought by police but have left the area or are in hiding.

At this point, VOMC urges prayer for the believers in the Kemisse region, that they will remain strong in their faith and consistent in their testimony.