Thursday, July 5, 2012

Eritrea: The North Korea of Africa

Like many other Christians,
Kidane was held in a metal shipping container.
Kidane had only been a Christian for two days when he was arrested at a church service in Eritrea, reports Christian Solidarity Worldwide.  

Along with the rest of the congregation he was taken to prison, where he lived in a tiny cell with one other person for six months. The cell was just seven by five feet, and was very dirty and hot.  He could only sleep from 4am-10am – when prison walls got a little colder. He couldn’t go outside, and was only given bread and soup to eat.

But after that things got much worse.

He was imprisoned in a metal shipping container with 22-25 other people. In the daytime the container was boiling hot – the windows were only small.  At night, once the door was shut there was no oxygen.  Kidane lived like this for eight months.

In May 2010, Kidane was asked to sign a letter by the government to renounce his faith.  Kidane has several brothers and sisters, but they are not Christians, so the government was using them to plead with him to renounce his faith.

When in prison, his mother came to prison to plead with him to sign the government document. When he agreed, it was the hardest moment of his life, because he knew he was rejecting Jesus Christ. After two days, he changed his mind and peace returned to him. Kidane was asked, “Do you prefer your container to signing this document?” He replied, “I want to stay here with the peace of the Lord rather than go out without His peace”.

After enduring years of hard labour, Kidane tried to escape with four others. They went into hiding in the bush. Moving only in the dark, the group could hardly see the top of the nearby mountains by moonlight.

When the group was approaching the border area with another country, dogs began to chase them and an Eritrean soldier appeared. Everyone panicked and ran in different directions. Suddenly Kidane was on his own.

After much walking, he attempted to cross the border and was stopped by an Eritrean soldier.  He asked the soldier to help him and the man showed compassion.

Kidane is now a refugee, but he is still in a vulnerable situation.

Today there are 20,000 people imprisoned in Eritrea – often referred to as the North Korea of Africa. Between 2,000 and 3,000 of them are Christians, imprisoned in inhumane conditions – without trial or charge – in detention centres where torture is rife.

Please remember to pray for Christians like Kidane! 
  • Pray that Christians jailed for their faith in Eritrea will be released from prison. 
  • Pray that Eritrean Christians will look to Jesus for their hope and strength. 
  • Pray that God will bring about justice in an unjust world (Psalm 140).
To read the full report, click here. For other stories and information on Eritrea’s persecuted Church, visit our Eritrea Country Report.

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