Eritrea frees Christian prisoners but attacks churches in Tigray

Mar 3, 2021 by

from Release International:

More Christian prisoners of faith have been set free in Eritrea. A further 21 women prisoners have been released, making 171 Christians freed since August last year.

At the same time, Eritrean forces have been accused of attacking churches in neighbouring Ethiopia – killing more than 700 civilians in what has been described as a massacre.

‘Despite the prisoner releases in Eritrea, these horrific church attacks suggest it’s far too soon to suggest a change of heart towards Christianity,’ says Paul Robinson of Release International, which supports persecuted Christians worldwide.

Church attacks

‘The attacks on churches in Tigray are appalling, and Eritrea continues to hold many senior pastors who have been detained indefinitely – some for up to 17 years. Until all are set free and the killing of Christians stops it’s too soon to talk of lasting change.

‘Any such change would have to be proven by giving full freedom of religion to all Eritrea’s citizens.’

The latest prisoners to be released have just set free from Dahlak Archipelago, an island prison on the Red Sea. The women, reportedly young mothers, were arrested in 2017 after the Eritrean authorities raided underground churches in various towns and villages. Many of their husbands were conscripts and their children were left without care.

The latest batch of releases leaves an estimated 130 Christian prisoners in state jails in Eritrea. There is also an unknown number of army conscripts who have been locked up for practising their faith. It is estimated a further 150 Christian prisoners are being held by the army, but little is known about them.

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