Seventeen evangelical Christians have been imprisoned in a remote military training camp at Aderset, Western Eritrea.
This report is contained in a release by Open Doors (www.opendoorsuk.org) a United Kingdom (UK) Registered Charity adding that the young Christians were arrested on August 5 as they were gathered at one of their homes in Keren, northwest of Asmara.
It noted that the seven women and ten men, most of whom are enrolled for military service at Mitire, were then marched to the police station 45 minutes away, whilst being ridiculed by onlookers. They were later relocated to the military camp in Aderset.
“The camp is notorious for its harsh conditions. Prisoners are often kept in dungeons and forced to do hard labor. The remoteness of the camp also makes it extremely hard for friends and family to visit in order to provide extra food or medicine. It is understood that one of the women arrested is physically unwell,” the report stated.
It noted that Church leaders estimated that there are around 1,500 believers in prisons in Eritrea because of their faith and that life has been particularly difficult for Christians since the Eritrean government outlawed all religious activities outside of the Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran and Islamic faiths in 2002.
Eritrean Christians according to the report, completed 40 days of prayer for their nation on July 2, 2012 and that one Eritrean who took part said: "The prayer campaign has taught me and several brothers and sisters with whom I talked to, to continue depending on God with unceasing and persistent prayer until God establishes justice for the Eritrean Church."
It would be noted however that Eritrean believers have called on the wider Christian community to pray with them and particularly for the 17 young people recently imprisoned.