Christian prisoners freed Two Christian prisoners Release International has been praying for over many years have finally been set free in Eritrea. Twen Theodros and Mussie Eyob are among the latest number of believers to be released. Since the end of August last year, 150 Christians have now been freed – some after more than a decade behind bars. Release International’s partners say the situation has eased slightly for Christians in Eritrea, possibly to win favour with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, who is a Christian. Eritrea has joined forces with Ethiopia to fight rebels in the Tigray region of that country. Twen was first arrested in the Eritrean capital Asmara in 2004, and sent to various prisons. Her story is one of remarkable courage. She shared a shipping container with the gospel singer Helen Berhane, and suffered beatings and torture. Despite her own suffering, she also volunteered to take beatings intended for Helen. Twen, who was a new believer when she was first imprisoned, could have been released had she chosen to renounce her faith. But she refused. She is described as a precious, lovely Christian who is determined to stay faithful to Jesus. Release International sources say she is doing well, is strong in her faith, and has chosen to remain in Eritrea. As has another Christian who has been released, Mussie Eyob. Mussie was arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2011 after preaching outside a mosque in Jeddah. Because preaching to Muslims is a capital offence the authorities doubted his sanity. But doctors confirmed Mussie was in his right mind. Eventually he was deported to Eritrea and imprisoned. He told his family he was ready to die for his faith in Christ. Release contacts say Mussie is also doing well. There are still 150-200 Christian prisoners behind bars in Eritrea. Some were jailed after being conscripted to the army. Little is known about them. Our partners say: ‘Please pray for these ex-prisoners, that they will have full healing from the trauma they have suffered, and that they will be able to settle into the community. Some were just children when they were arrested and many have been imprisoned for up to 14 years.’ Thank you for your prayers for our imprisoned brothers and sisters over the years. Pray that the remaining Christians will be released and that the apparent easing of persecution in Eritrea will continue. Please also pray for Christian refugees in Ethiopia, who have been displaced by the fighting in the Tigray region. Two refugee camps have now been closed, forcing Christians and others to flee elsewhere. UPDATE In the last Prayer Alert we asked you to pray that God would provide for the needs of Zafar Bhatti who has been in prison in Pakistan since 2012. We understand that this is now happening. Please continue to remember this dear Christian, and his wife, Nawab, in your prayers. (Sources: Release contacts, Church in Chains)
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