Christian students in Eritrea beaten, threatened for their faith

Military beats them, threatens to keep them from attending university. By: Morning Star News Friday, 26 July 2013, Eritrean authorities are punishing 39 high school students for their Christian faith, excluding them from a graduation ceremony and subjecting

Military beats them, threatens to keep them from attending university.

By: Morning Star News

Friday, 26 July 2013,

Eritrean authorities are punishing 39 high school students for their Christian faith, excluding them from a graduation ceremony and subjecting them to beatings and hard labour, according to Christian support organization Open Doors.

After completing a four-month military training required in Eritrea, the students, including 11 girls, have been arrested for their “Christian beliefs and for their commitment to Christ,” sources told Open Doors.

“The youths are now enduring beating, forced hard labour and insufficient food and water” at the SAWA military training centre, the organization reported in a press statement. “Sources said authorities are also threatening the students with long imprisonment and exclusion from university should they ‘fail to renounce Christ.’”

After completing school, all Eritreans are required to participate in national service. The 39 students were selected out from 17,000 students of the 26th national service intake who graduated on July 13, according to Open Doors. Graduating students then continue to Senior Secondary School to complete grade 12.

Since 2002, worship outside the government-sanctioned Sunni Muslim, Eritrean Orthodox Church (EOC), Roman Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eritrea has been forbidden, with Protestant worship a criminal offence. In 2005, authorities also began persecuting the EOC, particularly those in the church’s renewal movement.

The government began a widespread crackdown on Christians outside the state-approved churches early this year, according to Open Doors, detaining them in harsh conditions. Christians make up 47 percent of Eritrea’s population of 5.2 million, and Muslims 50 percent, according to Operation World.

The Marxist-leaning architect of repression of religion and free speech in Eritrea, President Isaias Afewerki, has been in power since Eritrea’s liberation from Ethiopia in 1991; the National Assembly elected him as president 1993.

“In 2001, in the wake of a two-year border war with Ethiopia (1998-2000), Afewerki began cracking down hard on anything that could be viewed as a threat to national unity,” Elizabeth Kendal wrote in the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin on Nov. 13, 2012. “He cancelled elections and closed all independent media. Opposition figures – politicians, activists and journalists –were removed, mostly to underground ‘secret prisons’ for the ‘disappeared.’”

An estimated 3,000 mostly Protestant Christians were incarcerated for their faith by the end of 2010. That number fell to about 1,500 as of November 2012, according to Kendal, and Open Doors estimates the figure is now about 1,200. The prisoners are held in shipping containers in desert camps, with some kept in underground cells, Kendal noted.

“The conditions are inhumane: Children and the elderly are amongst the prisoners sharing skin diseases, dysentery and other horrors in confined, unventilated spaces,” Kendal reported. “Torture is routine . . . Several Christians have died in custody, and others have perished in the desert trying to escape.”

The Eritrean military has reportedly made a business of Christians refugees, kidnapping them out of refugee camps in Sudan and selling them to traffickers in Egypt’s Sinai. There they are sold to Bedouin gangs who ransom them for tens of thousands of dollars, electrocuting, raping, starving and murdering the Christians as they threaten their relatives.

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8 COMMENTS
  • Bus.Zone July 26, 2013

    Religious and non-religious every one under the Mercy PFDJ Thugs and Bandits

  • Said July 26, 2013

    Dictator don’t west time to do his dirtywark in use any kind of excuse .united against dictator.

  • hailu July 26, 2013

    Those generals in SAWA will not run away from responsibility on what is happening under their rule.
    This human atrocities must stop and every citizen should be respected and given undeserved rights to worship his own.
    In history, no leader is able to pursue by denouncing the almighty God, it may seem God is not responding but the end of Isayas and his generals will be bad, not because God will punish him but because his deeds will not let him leave in peace.

    But i pray for God to give them protection to the students and strength them in their faith.

    No matter Isayas like it or not the Name of Jesus will be heard and spoken all over the world and is.

    Isayas and his generals and all involved will not live peacefully ever after

  • hailu July 26, 2013

    Those generals in SAWA will not run away from responsibility on what is happening under their rule.
    This human atrocities must stop and every citizen should be respected and given undeserved rights to worship his own.
    In history, no leader is able to pursue by denouncing the almighty God, it may seem God is not responding but the end of Isayas and his generals will be bad, not because God will punish him but because his deeds will not let him leave in peace.

    But i pray for God to give them protection to the students and strength them in their faith.

    No matter Isayas like it or not the Name of Jesus will be heard and spoken all over the world and is.

    Isayas and his generals and all involved will not live peacefully ever after

  • Zeray July 26, 2013

    Misery is everywhere (Christians or non). But when you target those who show respect to God or Allah as enemies then the government is playing with hellish fire, PFDJ have in a sense targeted God the creator of all things. Historically, no country or community had succeeded whose government had shown opposition to the creator. In fact all have suffered in every respect. I always question – could Eritrean suffering be in direct proportion to how the Eritrean government opposes Godly principles? I am not sure, but certainly open for debate.

  • henok July 26, 2013

    behold, this shows that, the time is coming that the LORD JESUS CHRIST will glorify in every corner of eritrea very soon. It always goes like that. Go check history if you don’t believe me.

  • ahmed saleh July 27, 2013

    As the saying says ; ‘ evil gains are the equivalent of disaster ‘ and that is why when possess power
    the evilness become necessity out of their corrupted minds . Nobody can deny the evil deeds inside the
    country because the true meaning of truth has to be experienced as our people are experiencing on their
    daily life . Knowing the truth the whole truth make a person free and transforms the body to complete
    sense of the world as human being .
    For those evil doers who inflict pain on others and their supporters , I leave for the judgment day
    to awaken your consciousness .

  • marsa July 29, 2013

    What do you mean by Christian, are trying to tell poeple Pentecostal is the only christian in Eritrea.what happen to the
    Orthodoxy, catholic, evangelical. No body wil buy ur news brother.

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