.- Seven religious schools in Eritrea, four of them sponsored by the Catholic Church, have been seized by the country’s government this month. Catholic bishops in the country say the move was motivated by “hatred against the faith.”
“If this is not hatred against the faith and against religion what else can it be?” Eritrea’s bishops asked in a Sept. 4 letter addressed to the Minister of Public Education, Semere Re’esom.
The seven schools seized by the government include three run Protestant and Muslim groups, according to Comboni Catholic missionaries serving in the area. The schools have been nationalized, and will reportedly now be run by the country’s education ministry.
The Eritrean government has also seized Church-run health facilities.
“The actions that are being taken against our educational and health institutions are contrary to the rights and to the legitimate freedom of the Church,” the bishops wrote in their Sept. 4 letter.
The bishops also suggested that the government raise to them any objections to the way in which Catholic schools and hospitals are administered in Eritrea.