Persecution Fridays – Eritrea

July 1, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Eritrea: Unimaginable Suffering

Eritrean Christians fleeing persecution often face appalling conditions in Egypt, according to a report on the Christian Today website. The report cites The Barnabas Fund as saying that Egypt is the most common destination for Christians escaping from Eritrea, one of the most hostile countries in the world for believers. The Eritrean government sees Christians and evangelicals as a threat to national security because of their allegiance to God over the state.

Persecution intensified after an Eritrean governor ordered a purge against Christians at the end of 2010. “The suffering of our brothers and sisters from Eritrea is unimaginable,” said Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, international director of Barnabas Fund.

Hundreds of Eritrean Christians enter Egypt each month in hope of reaching Israel. Some Eritrean refugees die while attempting the 900-mile journey through Egypt, and others are shot to death as they cross the Egypt-Israel border.

Many of the refugees end up in Egyptian prisons or are held hostage for $20,000 ransoms by Bedouin Muslim nomads, who frequently work with human traffickers. Hostages who cannot pay the ransom are killed. There are currently between 500 and 600 Eritrean prisoners in Egyptian custody, and as many as 200 are currently held by traffickers. The refugees face sexual abuse, torture, beatings and enslavement at the hands of both Egyptian authorities and the Bedouin gangs. Barnabas Fund partners report that the Christians’ faith is the cause of their treatment.

“The situation on the ground is expected to keep on deteriorating while the number of refugees is increasing,” Barnabas Fund partners told Christian Today.

“They desperately need our help today,” said Dr. Sookhdeo.

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