At least 150 Eritrean Christians were arrested by government officials during the last two months, with some of them held in an underground prison made up of tunnels. Eritrea’s government current clampdown on Christians began 23 June when Eritrean security officials arrested 70 members of the Faith Mission Church of Christ, in Eritrea’s second city, Keren. The church’s members, among them 35 women and 10 children, were taken to Ashufera prison, 25kms from the city.
The Faith Mission Church of Christ was the last church still open in the majority-Muslim city 90kms northwest of Asmara. It was established more than 60 years ago and once had schools and orphanages all over the country.
On 16 August, six Christians, also from Keren and who were government employees, were taken to a court in Asmara where the judge told them to renounce their faith. The six responded by saying they would “not negotiate their faith” and would “continue following Jesus,” the source said. “Reportedly, the judge angrily told them to leave while he considers the next steps. They don’t know when to expect his decision.”