Christians Arrested During Communion
January 28 – On January 25, security officials arrested 27 members of the Rhema Church in Assab during their Sunday worship service. The 20 men and seven women were beaten as they were taken to a local police station. More than 300 Christians have been arrested since October 2008.
President Denies Persecution
January 20 – After banning all independent Protestant churches in May 2002, President Isaias Afwerki and his government deny that religious persecution exists in Eritrea, insisting such reports are based on “false allegations, exaggeration and baseless fabrication.” However, the arrest of believers has continued unabated into 2009, bringing the total number of Christians in prisons to almost 3,000.