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It has been reported by Release International ministry partners that more than 20 Christians have been arrested in the Eritrean capital of Asmara within the past few weeks. The arrests took place at the homes of the accused, indicating that they were planned in advance by the city’s authorities. These government officials have been targeting church leaders of various denominations, including the Full Gospel Church and the Mesret Kristos (Mennonite) Church.

Since this East African nation’s independence in 1993, and the repressive leadership of President Isaias Afewerki, there has been a notable increase in political uncertainty. Relations with its neighbouring country of Ethiopia have become even more strained since the death of Ethiopian Premier Meles Zenawi in August of 2012. More recently, a group of non-conformist soldiers tried to gain control of the Ministry of Information, in an attempt to bring about political change. Sources: AP, BBC, Christian Post, Release International