In a further crackdown on Christians, the government of Eritrea arrested 30 people that were attending a wedding ceremony held in the capital, Asmara, during the last week of June 2020. That brings the number of Christians arrested in Eritrea since last April to 45.
“Not many people have even heard of the small country of Eritrea, but it is of special importance to Christians. Since May 2002 it has been one of the fiercest persecutors of Christians worldwide,” Voice of the Martyrs Korea representative Foley Hyun Sook explains. “It is often called the ‘North Korea of Africa’ as its president is known to have a fondness for the North Korean model of leader-worship and desires to implement it in his own country.”
Representative Foley says that weddings and funerals are especially dangerous gatherings for Eritrean underground Christians.
“These are the only public gatherings that the underground Eritrean Christians do, since their regular church services must be done secretly,” says Representative Foley. “Eritrean authorities know this, so they closely watch every wedding that is held in the country to see if underground Christians are present. Underground Christians typically seek the help of sympathetic pastors from the few legal state churches when underground Christians need weddings and funerals.”
According to Representative Foley, only four religions are legal in Eritrea, and all four are strongly monitored and restricted. Among Protestantism, only Lutheran churches are permitted. Many of Eritrea’s non-Lutheran pastors have been imprisoned and tortured for more than ten years. In Eritrea, prisons are located in the hot desert and prisoners are kept in metal shipping containers. Due to the strong persecution against Christians, many flee the country and are living in refugee camps in Ethiopia.
Representative Foley says that the recent arrest of these 30 Christians at the June wedding follows the arrest last April of 15 Christians at an underground church worship service in the Mai Chehot area near the Eritrean capital of Asmara.
“That means that there are now 45 more Christians recently imprisoned in Eritrea because of their faith,” says Representative Foley. “Hebrews 13:3 says we are to remember our fellow Christians when they go to prison. All Christians around the world should add to our prayer list these 45 brothers and sisters, many of whom are now most likely suffering in metal shipping container prisons in the deserts of the ‘North Korea of Africa’, simply because of their faith.”
Doctor Foley speaks to Eritrean church leaders about what trauma is and how to work through it.
Dr. Foley prays for an Eritrean woman whose husband was martyred in prison. This woman has four young children to care for.
Voice of the Martyrs Korea administers a fund to provide ongoing support to families of martyrs and Christian prisoners. Churches and individuals interested in making a donation to VOMK’s Families of Martyrs/Families of Prisoners (FOM/FOP) Fund can do so at www.vomkorea.com/en/donation (select “FOM/FOP” from the donation option menu) or via electronic transfer to
국민은행 (KB Bank) 463501-01-243303
예금주 (account holder): (사)순교자의소리
Please include the phrase “FOM/FOP” on the transfer.