Eritrea deports the head of the Ethiopian Catholic church

On 22 February Cardinal Berhanyesus Demerew, head of the Ethiopian Catholic Church since his election in 1999, was denied entry to Eritrea.

He was travelling to Asmara to join in the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Kidane Meheret Catholic Church.

Cardinal Berhanyesus Demerew

According to a BBC Tigrigna report, he was stranded at the Asmara airport for more than 16 hours, before being forced to return to Ethiopia.

According to TesfaNews,  Cardinal Berhanyesus had protested against the closure  of the Catholic Health  facilities in  2018. TesfaNews is reluctant to link the protest to the denial of access  that is just what has happened

It is also possible that the denial of entry is linked to statements made in the past during the deportation  of  Eritreans. According to  Azieb Gide  Cardinal Berhanyesus had said during a sermon ” ..Ethiopia needs to defend itself from internal  enemies”.

Eritrea previously refused to recognise the  credentials of Ethiopian ambassador Redwan Hussein. The issue was diplomatically resolved in December 2019 – Eritrea recognized the abassador and soon thereafter the Ethiopian Government reassigned him.

Ambassador  Redwan had apparently previously made disparaging  remarks about the  People’s Front for Democracy and Justice ( PFDJ) .


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