During the early morning hours of May 23, 2004, Haile Nayzgi was arrested and taken to Police Station #1 in Asmara. He was the leader of Eritrea’s Full Gospel Church, which is comprised of 120 to 150 house meeting groups. The church groups were closed by government decree at a meeting with a government official on May 15, 2003. At that time the church groups were given an application form for government registration. The Full Gospel Church filled out the form and returned it to the appropriate offices, but no reply was ever received.
Haile is married and has three children. He was previously an accountant with World Evangelical Alliance. During his incarceration, Haile has been refused any personal contact with his family. When family and friends went to take food and clothing to the prison for Haile on August 24, 2004, they were told that he was no longer there. Mr. Nayzgi has been moved to various locations since his arrest, but the actual charges against him have not been released.
Haile’s Family Safe - March 2016
After Haile Nayzgi’s wife was warned she might also be arrested, she and the children decided to flee. After an arduous journey, they reached another country, where they have been safely living for the past several years. VOM has been supporting them and visiting regularly. Some months ago, in a message from Haile smuggled out of Eritrea, he thanked VOM for our support of his family. It was encouraging for him to know they were well while he remains in prison.
Haile's Wife and Children Separated - Jan. 2013
After Haile went to prison, his wife and children decided to flee Eritrea. His wife is in Kharthoum, but his children were only able to reach a border town between Sudan and Eritrea. Because of fear of human traffickers, they have not been able to travel to Khartoum.
Meanwhile, more than 20 church leaders working with the underground church were arrested on Jan. 17, 2013. From various denominations, they were arrested in their own homes, in an apparently coordinated move.