Christian News from Scotland

News stories from Scotland and beyond

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

80 PRESBYTERIANS ARRESTED

Local authorities in Asmara, capital city of the East African nation of Eritrea, arrested 80 members of the Mehrete Yesus Evangelical Presbyterian Church at the close of a worship service on Sunday 29th April.

A US couple, as well as several teachers from India working in Eritrea, were among those detained. The US citizens were released on Thursday 3rd May and allowed to return to their home in Asmara.

Rev. Zecharias Abraham, the Presbyterian church’s pastor, and a church elder named Mikias Mekonnen continue to be held.

This latest raid against Eritrea’s Protestant community came only five days after the government announced that the Eritrean Orthodox Church had elected a new patriarch, Bishop Dioskoros of Mendefera.

An April 23rd posting on an opposition website (www.asmarino.com<) noted,
“The Eritrean people should be aware that the rights and beliefs of the 2-million strong [Orthodox] church have been flagrantly violated once again, and the hijacking of the church by the government that has been under way for quite some time is now complete.”
More than 40 percent of Eritrea’s citizens consider themselves Coptic Orthodox by birth with at least half of the population of ethnic Muslim background.

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