On 21 and 22 January 2021, police in Hargeisa, Somaliland arrested Mohamed and Hamdi and their new-born baby, as well as an Ethiopian woman, Aster and Hamdi A, a Somali woman.
On 14 and 15 February additional arrests took place in Hargeisa. On 4 April 2021, the Attorney General filed charges, asking the Hargeisa regional court to set a trial date.
Six detainees are charged with offences against the state religion (Islam) and inciting others to disobey laws relating to public order. Three of them, including Mohamed and Hamdi, are also charged with apostasy as well as spreading and teaching Christianity. The Ethiopian and other Somali women are not mentioned in the indictment. Their lawyer is seeking clarity as to their status.
The lawyer is not always granted access to his clients. Depending on the guards present, access can be denied. He reports that all were in good health and being treated well.
In September 2020 another Christian couple was arrested and later deported to Somalia.
Somali Christians request prayer:
- That the detainees will experience God’s closeness and strength – and be released soon
- For the Christian community who are feeling vulnerable, with these arrests coming after similar events last year
- For wisdom for the Somali church leadership in how to respond
- For strength, wisdom and boldness for the lawyer and that he will be allowed to visit his clients.