ZAMBIA: AMECEA Bishops Decry Eritrea’s Seizure of Catholic Health Facilities

SOLWEZI, JUNE 25, 2019 (CISA)– The Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) has condemned the Eritrean Government’s Seizure of health facilities belonging to the Catholic Church.

In a solidarity message to the Catholic Bishops of Eritrea delivered on behalf of AMECEA Bishops, AMECEA Chairman Bishop Charles Kasonde expressed concerns over the closure of 22 health facilities on June 12.

“I hereby extend my heart-felt message of solidarity to you and the entire Catholic family in Eritrea over the confiscation of the health institutions owned by the Catholic Church, which follows the Eritrean Government’s directive,” reads the message.

He assured the Eritrean bishops that all bishops in the AMECEA region are praying for the Church in Eritrea until an amicable solution is reached between Government and the Church.

“May the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ nurture you with the hope and give you the necessary courage and stamina to stand strong in defence of the rights of the Church and God’s people in Eritrea,” it adds.

The solidarity message comes in the wake of a letter to the Ministry of Health from the Catholic Bishops of Eritrea terming the measure ‘unreasonable’ and ‘inappropriate’ and that the Church cannot hand-over its facilities willingly, as ordered.

“The government can say it doesn’t want the services of the Church, but asking for the property is not right,” read  in part a letter sent jointly by Archbishop Menghesteab Tesfamariam of Asmara, Bishop Fikremariam Hagos Tsalim of Segheneity, Bishop Kindane Yebio of Keren and Bishop Thomas Osman of Barentu.

The Government of Eritrea is yet to respond to the letter.