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News / Thoughts

Eritrea: Church health centres closed

June 24, 2019

In Eritrea the government has closed all health centres run by the Catholic Church. The government acted after the church refused their demand to hand over the centres.

Eritrean government officials have asked health centre administrators to sign a document approving the handover. When most of the administrators refused to sign, security officers removed the staff from the health centres and closed them down.

Why did this happen?

The government has yet to give a reason for this decision, but it follows growing persecution of Christians in the country, which is often referred to as the North Korea of Africa. Thirty underground Christians in Eritrea were arrested earlier in June. They were members of a Pentecostal church, an unregistered and therefore illegal type of church. A further 141 Christians were arrested in May 2019.

Police regularly raid the homes of Christians from unregistered churches. Christians who have been arrested are often only released on the condition that they renounce their faith. Hundreds of members of unregistered churches remain in prison, with some held captive for over a decade.

Recently Catholic Bishops have publicly called for the government to reform – this may have angered the government and been the reason for the closures of the health centres.

Pray for Eritrea

Eritrea is number 7 on the Open Doors World Watch List. Thanks to your prayers and support, and through strategic partnerships with local partners in Eritrea, Open Doors strengthens believers by offering practical assistance to persecuted Christians.

Pray now…

  • For continued wisdom for church leaders as they interact with the authorities
  • For the Lord’s grace to all those who may be affected by the interruption of much-needed services of the health centres
  • For strength and resilience for Christians who remain in prison, and their families.

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