Eritrea Detains First Bishop of Segheneity at Asmara Airport

Eritrea Detains First Bishop of Segheneity at Asmara Airport (News Central TV)

Eritrean security agents at the Asmara international airport detained Bishop Abune Fikremariam Hagos on Saturday morning after arriving from Europe.

The Catholic Church has asked the relevant government authorities for the bishop’s whereabouts. Bishop Hagos was ordained as the first bishop of Segheneity in southern Eritrea in 2012.

In response, the authorities informed the church that it was “holding” the Bishop of Segheneity but did not disclose why he was being incarcerated.

Last Tuesday, Eritrean forces arrested Abba Mihretab Stefanos, the parish priest of St Michael’s church in Segheneity.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

Also, in Teseney town, the Capuchin Society priest Abba Abraham was reportedly detained for questioning. The reasons behind the detention of the bishop and the two priests have not been established. The arrest is coming amid intensified military mobilisation by the government, which is forcing young men to join the war in neighbouring Ethiopia.

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The Eritrean government has sent troops to assist Ethiopia against forces from its northern Tigray region bordering Eritrea.

There has been growing public discontent over Eritrea’s meddling in the conflict. The Catholic bishops have repeatedly advised the Eritrean government to promote inclusive democracy and end authoritarian tendencies. The government has taken umbrage from the Catholic Church’s demand for political restructuring. President Isaias Afwerki for the past 30 years.

Three years ago, Catholic-run schools and hospitals were shut by the authorities saying regulations disallowing religious bodies from running such institutions had been activated.

One in twenty-five Eritreans subscribe to the Catholic faith. The church is one of only four religious groups allowed to operate in Eritrea, along with the Eritrean Orthodox, Evangelical Lutheran, and Sunni Muslims.

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