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Home  >  News  >  Refugee Boat Victims 'Mostly Christian'


Refugee Boat Victims 'Mostly Christian'

Thursday October 10 2013

The majority of the refugees killed when their boat sank off the coast of Italy last week were Christians fleeing persecution, according to reports.

More than 300 people died when their boat caught fire and capsized near the island  of Lampedusa last Thursday. Over 500 people, mostly from Eritrea and Somalia, were believed to have been on the boat.

Father Mussie Zerai, Chairman of the Habeshia Agency, which works on behalf of migrants, told World Watch Monitor that most of the refugees were Christian. “I look at the list of the survivors and 90 per cent is Christian,” he said. “The situation is very bad because politically in Eritrea there is a dictator and they live without any type of freedom or democracy. Many Christians are persecuted because of their faith. It’s not easy for them to live in Eritrea at this moment.”

In May, World Watch Monitor reported that religious persecution in Eritrea is at its “highest ever level and getting worse”, according to Christian charity Open Doors International.

The number of Christians incarcerated in Eritrea because of their faith is thought to be around 1,200, according to the charity, although some estimates claim the figure is as high as 3,000.

Eritrea is ranked 10th on the World Watch List, which ranks the 50 countries in which Christians are most under pressure for their faith.

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