Washington DC (December 7, 2009) –International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on December 5 at 4 PM local time, officials of Eritrea arrested 30 Christian women in Asmara, the capital city of the country.

The mostly elderly women were praying together at a house when security forces rounded them up and hauled them off to police station one in Asmara. Their children and grandchildren told our sources that they are concerned about the safety of their loved ones.

Most of the detainees are members of Faith Mission Church, an Evangelical Church with a Methodist background. The church has been carrying out evangelistic and development activities in Eritrea for over five decades and was forced to go underground in 2002 after Eritrean officials required all religious groups to register. The officials then allowed only three Christian denominations to register. The three registered churches are: the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Evangelical Church of Eritrea.

Since 2002, officials of Eritrea have been cracking down on members of both registered and unregistered churches. They have imprisoned more than 3000 Christians keeping them in underground dungeons, mental shipping containers, and military barracks. Several Christians have died inside prisons due to torture and lack of medical attention.

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa and South Asia, Jonathan Racho said “We condemn the arrest of the 30 women by Eritrean officials. We urge officials of Eritrea to release the detainees and all the imprisoned Christians in the country. We call upon Eritrea to stop violating the freedom of religion of its people.”

Please pray for the safety of the imprisoned women, their release from prison, and for the release of all the imprisoned Christians in Eritrea.

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