Glass, a large village North West of the town of Keren, has a sizable health station.

It is large – almost a hospital by Eritrean standards. It provided services to nearby villages.

Sadly, it is just one of the 22 health stations ordered to be closed by the Eritrean Government.

Catholic Eparchy of Keren ran 8 clinics and treated about 40,000 patients per year.

In the middle of the night, about two weeks ago, some officers (probably from the nearby military camp) came and suddenly tried to force the main door of the clinic open.

One of the command centres in the country is located just across the main road between Keren Hagaz. This is the road connecting Asmara and Khartoum, via Kassala.

Father Thomas, who was awake, came down and asked the soldiers what they were doing there so late at night. They told him that they had been sent by their superiors and he should mind own his business.

In that instant Father Thomas acted.  He went and rang the church bell.

It is the custom in Eritrean villages when there is an imminent threat or danger to the community, or a significant announcement is to be made.

The villagers poured out of their homes to see what was happening. When they arrived at the scene they protested. The soldiers had no option but to retreat to where they had come from.

Two days later, another set of officers came. This time they arrested Father Thomas and put him into detention. He was released after a two-day incarceration.



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