Arrests of Non-Denominational Christians Continue in ‘North Korea of Africa’

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Thirty Pentecostal Christians were arrested in the Eritrea Capital of Asmara recently, continuing a trend of government crackdowns on non-organized religion in the East African country that saw 141 more Christians arrested on May 10th.

The Christians had gathered to pray in an unofficial capacity in three different locations in the capital, and likely face beating, torture, and forced labor for deviating from Eritrea’s four state-approved religions—Orthodox Christianity, Sunni Islam, Roman Catholicism, and the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Eritrea.

“In Eritrea almost every Christian faces imprisonment,” an Eritrean Christian refugee living in an Ethiopian refugee camp told Release International recently. “It is like North Korea, but in Africa,” said another.

Eritrea is ranked 7th on Open Doors USA’s 2019 World Watch List for Christian persecution, with the “dictatorial paranoia” of President Isaias Afewerki cited as the main cause.

Recently 100 prominent African writers wrote an open letter to Eritrea’s leader asking the country to come out of its shell as “the most closed society on our continent,” an atmosphere that has caused tens of thousands of Eritreans to flee across the Mediterranean to Italy or into ramshackle refugee camps in Ethiopia.