“Pastor Kidane Weldou disappeared and is presumably detained by Eritrean security
forces. His vehicle was found abandoned in downtown Asmara. He is a senior pastor of the
Full Gospel Church and has been a leader in the church for many years. Weldou is married
and has four daughters. For many days his family has been unable to learn his whereabouts. Other Full Gospel pastors still being held include Haile Nayzgi. Pastor
Weldou is also a member of the executive committee of Gideons International in Eritrea.
About 2,000 Christians are being held in prisons and military camps in Eritrea. A few were released after signing a pledge to stop attending religious services. The Eritrean
government began forcibly closing evangelical Protestant churches in 2002. They have
not allowed any of the independent Protestant churches to register and reopen since,
even though 11 have applied for this official registration. Along with Islam, there are only
three Christian churches authorized to worship by the government. These include Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran churches. However, Orthodox Christians have also been arrested.
On February 19, 2005, a group of Sunday school teachers and students were arrested and detained by police after a raid on the Medhane Alem Orthodox Church in Asmara. They were later released. According to Compass Direct, the pastors of the banned Protestant churches were reportedly ordered not to inform anyone outside Eritrea of their problems. However, these pastors rejected this advice and reported what was happening to the outside world. Some of those arrested are held in metal shipping containers.
According to Compass Direct newly compiled statistics smuggled out of Eritrea indicate that at least 1,918 Eritrean citizens are imprisoned and subjected to torture and forced labor because of their religious beliefs; 95 percent of these known religious prisoners of conscience are Christians.”
–Be-A-Voice Network (updated 10/13/2012)
“All evangelical churches remain closed following the ban on all religious groups (other than Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran or Islamic) in 2002. Arrests appear to have continued throughout 2010. As many as 2,200 believers remain in prison for their faith, while at least 13 have died under the harsh incarceration conditions. Many of their families have had no news from the prisoners in months. Eritrean refugees in Sudan and Ethiopia continue to face the threat of repatriation.
• That God‘s people in prison and their families would be given strength to remain faithful • That international pressure would bring an end to the government’s repressive policies • For wisdom for church members now leading congregations following the arrest of their pastors.”
–Open Doors International
“Eritrea has been devastated by civil war and drought. The Marxist government exercises strict control over Eritreans, imprisoning tens of thousands of citizens, torturing at will and pursuing a systematic policy to eradicate evangelical Christianity. Of the 19 people groups, nine are unreached by the gospel.
Category: Restricted Nation Religion: Muslim 50.2%, Christian 47.3% Ideology: Dictatorship/Communism Head of State: President Isaias Afworki
In 2002, the Eritrean government banned all Christian denominations except Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Evangelical Lutheranism and banned all other religious practices except Sunni Islam. The government also decreed that non-registered groups could not gather in numbers of more than five. Security forces continue to disrupt private worship, conduct mass arrests at prayer meetings and other gatherings, and detain those arrested without charge for indefinite periods. There are at least 2,000 Christians in prison in Eritrea, and nearly every evangelical has been arrested at least once. Prisoners experience torture and extremely poor living conditions; several have died in custody. In a 2010 year-end crackdown on evangelicals, more than 100 Christians were arrested.”
–Voice of the Martyrs