Clinging to the arid northern edge of Ethiopia, a significant feature of Eritrea is that few know where it is. Although polls indicate the population to be half Muslim, half Christian; the oppressive Marxist style government has all but outlawed Christianity in recent years, with nearly every denomination now banned. Outlawed Christians who continue to gather and worship are dealt with very harshly by the authorities.
Raids on Christian gatherings result in mass arrests, beatings and imprisonment. Torture is commonplace, and owning a bible or singing is prohibited.
In filthy prison cells many Christians endure being chained; others suffer the ignominy of rape. Some are caged in steel shipping containers where they suffer intense temperature variations. So little food and water is provided most prisoners barely survive, many die.
As a result thousands have fled Eritrea, undertaking perilous desert journeys to seek refuge in other North African countries. Sadly in some, such as Egypt, many are again abused and imprisoned. Others are kidnapped by Bedouin Muslims and held for ransom. Consequently many flee further afield to Europe.
Although Jesus Christ said that just as he was persecuted so would many of his followers be, it’s still very difficult to comprehend what so many Christians endure, and it’s heartbreaking to only hear of them because of the cruelties they suffer.
Pray God will protect Eritrean Christians from further violence and will comfort and strengthen those suffering imprisonment.
Pray the attitude of the authorities toward Christianity will become positive and affirming, that all those imprisoned will be freed, and all Christians will again be granted the right to freely gather.