Ethiopian Church Congregation Arrested by the State

12/03/2019 Ethiopia (International Christian Concern) – The operations of a local Christian gathering in the Ethiopian city of Debark was recently disrupted by police on November 3.

The difficulties began for the group in question, the Ethiopian Fellowship of Evangelical Students, several months ago in May. The local authorities demanded that the group move about 50 miles to the Southwestern city of Gondar. The Fellowship rebuffed the order and responded with a complaint to the city, an act which prompted no action by the city of Debark on their behalf.

Instead, a few weeks ago, the police returned in numbers and made numerous arrests among the student congregation and group leadership. Under duress, those arrested signed forms stating that they would never meet again within Debark locality. Once they signed, they were immediately released. Some church leaders were held for a few days before being subjected to the same experience. The event was reported anonymously to the World Watch Monitor.

The whole of the region around Debark and other settlements in the North of Ethiopia are considered sacred by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Protestant Christian groups have been subjected to mounting pressure by the traditional churches of the country as a whole and this region in particular to assimilate or cease evangelical activities. Religious tension is already present in the area, with large numbers of Muslims already residing there, and the introduction of evangelical Christianity will likely not help the developing balance of demographics.

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