GOVERNMENT ROUNDS UP LEADERS FROM FIVE CHURCHES
Asmara security police arrest 40 Protestant Christians in past two weeks.
At least 40 pastors, elders and leading laymen from five of Eritrea's banned Protestant churches have been arrested from their homes or offices in the past two weeks in the capital of Asmara. Starting early on the morning of December 22, security police began tracking down leaders of the Church of the Living God, along with clergymen and elders in the Full Gospel, Rema, Hallelujah and Philadelphia churches. One Church of the Living God pastor escaped shortly after his arrest, and police have arrested a member of his church board and one of his parishioners. Police also raided a music shop run by members of the Philadelphia Church, jailed all 15 people present, and shut down the store. The music shop was the main source of Christian materials, music tapes and books for Protestant evangelicals in Asmara.