“It is like amputating one of the Church’s arms” says Catholic priest, in response to the forced occupation and closure of Catholic-run health facilities by the Eritrean military
by Tobias Lehner.
“The purpose of the brutal actions of the Eritrean government was to divest the Church of all services in the areas of education and health. Our work is to be restricted only to our places of worship,” the Catholic priest Mussie Zerai explained to the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Father Zerai lives in Rome and coordinates the pastoral work for Eritrea and communities in Europe. Which are on the rise: thousands of people are leaving their homeland each year.
Their numbers may grow even larger now after the brutal actions carried out by the government of the northeast African country against Christian facilities: in mid-June, the Eritrean military forcibly occupied and closed 21 hospitals and medical facilities run by the Church. The patients were more or less thrown out of their beds. The military smashed windows and doors and pressured the staff, Father Zerai said. He reported that the director of a hospital in northern Eritrea, a Franciscan sister, was even arrested when she resisted the closure.