ERITREA: 50 children imprisoned in latest round-up

50 children have been imprisoned in the past few weeks as the Eritrean government continues its campaign against independent churches. The children range in age from eight months to nine years and have been jailed along with their parents who all belong to evangelical churches which have been outlawed by the Eritrean government for the past four years.

Many Christians from independent churches now only gather for worship and fellowship in private homes. Such gatherings are now being targeted by the police.

In one such incident, around 30 people (including children) were arrested in a police raid on the house of Mr Samson and Mrs Meheret, in the town of Adisogudo while gathered for a family celebration. The couple’s three children and seven other children of friends and family were arrested when two trucks full of security officers with guns surrounded the house. All the children were under the age of nine.

Grave concerns are being expressed for the safety and wellbeing of the children who are in prison, particularly for the emotional and physical torment that they must be under. Christians living in Asmara, capital of Eritrea, have urged the international community to do their utmost to ensure that the plight of these children is highlighted internationally. In an urgent appeal, they asked “Please release the children‚Äôs news, everyone is waiting for that. They are children from the age of 8 months to 9 years, do this for Christ‚Äôs sake”.

It is estimated that over 2,000 evangelical Christians are currently imprisoned in Eritrea. They are being held in a variety of locations including police stations and military camps. Many are confined in metal shipping containers while others are being held in underground cells. (Release Eritrea)