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Eritrea Releases 35 Members of Underground Church

You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address Contact Darara Gubo, Regional Manager for Africa, 1-800-ICC (422)-5441, [email protected]

(February 27, 2008) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on February
16, 2008, Eritrean officials released 35 men, women and children belonging to the underground Faith Missions Church after ICC released the story of their imprisonment on February 7.

In another development, Eritrean officials also released Christians who were imprisoned in Assab for nearly six years. According to our source, the Christians belong to Mulu Wongel, Kale Hiwot and Rema evangelical churches.

In our February 7 press release, we reported on an unspecified number of Christians from Faith Mission church who were imprisoned in Agordat, a city found to the West of Kerene. Our source confirmed that the Christians are still in prison.

Faith Missions is a small Evangelical denomination in Eritrea . It has been in existence in the country since the early 1950s. Besides engaging in evangelistic activities, the church formerly ran orphanages and schools throughout the country. Eritrean officials closed the church in May 2002, forcing it to go underground. Recently, the government of Eritrea has targeted adherents of this denomination with particular severity.

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Darara Gubo, said, “I commend the decisions of Eritrean officials to release these 35 Christians as well as the Christians who were imprisoned in Assab for nearly six years. Now Eritrean officials should also release the 2,000 other Christians who are still in prison for their faith. In addition, the international community should step up its pressure on Eritrea so that the government ensures freedom of religion in the country.”

ICC would like to thank all its supporters who prayed for the release of these 35 Christians and who took time to call their respective Eritrean Embassies in protest. Please continue praying for the 2,000 other Christians currently imprisoned in Eritrean jails due to their faith in Christ.

You can also continue to call the Eritrean Embassy in your country. Please politely ask the Eritrean officials to stop mistreating Christians and release all who are imprisoned for their faith.

Phone numbers of Eritrean Embassies:

USA : (202) 319-1991

Germany : (+49) (30) 44 67 46-0

Australia : (+61) 2 6290 1991 / 3

UK : 020 7713 0096

Canada : +1-613-234-3989

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ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.