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Release of 69 Christians imprisoned in Eritrea for faith in Jesus

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Eritrean government has, at the time of writing, released 69 Christian prisoners, many of whom have been in long-term detention for their faith for up to 16 years without trial.

Following on from a release of more than 20 male and female prisoners on 4 September, Barnabas can report that the authorities are continuing make conditional releases from the Mai Serwa prison, near the capital, Asmara.

A Barnabas contact has confirmed the Eritrean government has, at the time of writing, released 69 Christian prisoners, many of whom have been in long-term detention for their faith for up to 16 years without trial.

Following on from a release of more than 20 male and female prisoners on 4 September,  the authorities are continuing make conditional releases from the Mai Serwa prison, near the capital, Asmara.

“This is an answer to prayer. Thousands of Christians have been praying for this,” he added.

Life will not be easy for those who are released Dr Berhane explained, “Many have been in prison for a long time. The circumstances they are being released into are very changed. Some will return to friends and extended family, but many will be homeless with nowhere to go. There is no state help in Eritrea.”

Dr Berhane called for prayer for the released prisoners, “People have souls and minds that will need healing. They need to rehabilitate. We need to pray that they will recover from their trauma.”

In 2019, more than 330 Christians were arrested between May and August. Among them were 141 Christians – including 104 women and 14 children – detained on 10 May as they gathered at a house church meeting in Asmara.

Eritrea remains one of the worst countries in the world for Christian persecution, where believers of certain denominations are subject to arbitrary arrest and detention without trial. Since the introduction of religious registration policies in 2002, only three Christian denominations are legally permitted – Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran – as well as Sunni Islam.

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American Missionary Kidnapped in Southern Niger

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Niger– On October 27, a missionary named Phillip Walton, was at his home in the town of Birnin Konni, near the border with Nigeria. He was there with his family, when gunmen entered his home early that morning. According to a report done by the Daily Mail, the gunmen demanded money. They tied up the family and threatened Phillip. They searched the home, but were only able to find about 35 dollars’ worth of Central African Francs. The gunmen then took Phillip. His family was left tied up and unhurt according to the report.

The police did not find out about the attack until about four hours later because the family had been detained. It is believed that the gunmen took Philip across the border into Northern Nigeria. They are now demanding a ransom for the return of Philip.

These types of kidnapping for ransom have become big business in Nigeria and throughout West Africa. Foreigners and locals alike are taken and ransomed back to family and friends for thousands of dollars. Other missionaries have been kidnapped from Niger in recent months as well. Jeffrey Woodke and Father Pier Luigi Maccalli are two of the more recent victims. Macalli spent more than two years in captivity before being released earlier this month.
Sources:persecution

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North Korean Christians Brutally Tortured for Their Faith

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North Korea– It is no secret that North Korean Christians are facing one of the harshest regimes when it comes to Christian persecution. A recent report by the London-based Korea Future Initiative (KFI) further confirms the atrocities done to North Korean Christians once arrested.

KFI conducted 117 interviews with survivors, witnesses, and perpetrators, all of those who escaped North Korea, on their experience of religious persecution, dating from 1990 until 2019. More than 200 Christians were identified as victims, their age ranging from 3 years old to 80 years old.

One story shows how a man who converted to Christianity claimed to have been imprisoned into a metal cage measuring only 3ft by 4ft wide with bars ‘heated with electricity’. While prisoners typically only survived three or four hours in the cage, his prayers helped him endure 12 before he eventually soiled himself and passed out. But even unconscious, the guards continued to beat him after he was removed from the cage, leaving him severely injured.

Women, especially pregnant women, witnessed horror daily, as pregnant women were injected with medicine to trigger labor. After giving birth to live babies, the newborns would be taken from them, smothered by guards using plastic sheets or cloth sacks and then discarded in a cleaning cupboard.

Only for possessing a Bible, prisoners who were tied to a wooden stake were shot by a five-person firing squad, recalled some interviewees. A Korean Workers’ Party member was arrested for owning a Bible and executed at Hyesan airfield in front of 3000 residents. Others were executed for smuggling Bible pages into the country from China for North Koreans to make prayer books.

Before the Kim regime began in 1948, Christianity once flourished in North Korea. However, over the next decades, the Kim dynasty made the country’s official religion the cult of Kim Il Sung. The country’s supreme leaders are seen as God(s) and all must worship them or they face deadly consequences. North Korea then became known as the harshest country in the world in which to live as a Christian.
Sources:persecution

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