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Church Services Conducted For Gunned-Down Youth

On December 28th, at a Catholic Church in Toronto, Canada, a memorial service was held for the three young sisters who were, along with ten other Eritrean youth, gunned down to death as they attempted to leave the country.

Also participating in the ceremony was the brother of one of the thirteen dead youth, name not disclosed, who came from London, Ontario, Canada–and the memorial service ended up commemorating the four youth.

In a capacity-filled and emotional service, the congregation also prayed for the 17 Eritreans who died as they attempted to leave the Shagarab refugee camp in Sudan last week.

The church, which is normally attended by 300 faithful and has a capacity of 700-800 was overflowing past the halls to the corridors with attendants estimated at over a thousand.

Eritreans who attended St. Michaels and Medhane Alem Orthodox churches flocked to the Catholic Church to show solidarity and pay condolences to the mother of the three young girls who perished.

People lined up for an hour and half to greet the mother and give her condolences on her heartbreaking loss.

Many of the attendants were youth who had made the long and arduous journey from Eritrea and, perhaps recalling their own journey, became emotional during the service.

Pictures of the three girls, Ariam Tesfyohannes (1994-2014), Rita Tesfayohannes (1997-2014) and Hosanna Tesfayohannes (2000-2014), along with Biblical verse (John: 11;25) were distributed to the faithful.

Father Vittorio, formerly a lecturer at Asmara University, gave the sermon noting that there has never been this kind of cruelty and prayed that God forgive the perpetrators.

Another priest, renowned for his fiery opposition to the Eritrean regime, did not speak and spent most of the sermon standing and staring, in visible wrath, at the pictures of the three young girls.

Church attendants sang a hymn in Tigrinya entitled “God Leads His children*”, whose chorus was “some with fire, some with storm.” [refer to copy of hymn.]

The three sisters, along with 13 others, were shot at when they were being smuggled out of the country in early September 2014, via the Ghindae-Karora way. Thirteen, including the three sisters as well as two best friends, Henok Mengestab, 17, and Samuel Yonas, 18, were instantly killed. Three survived, were treated, and released in late December.

The government is suspected of being behind the killings because it first denied any knowledge of the disappearance of the three sisters, then told the father, Tesfayohannes, that it has them in detention and he would need to pay the mandatory fine to have them released, then told him, and the parents of the other 13 killed, that it has the remains of their children and they can come to gather them.

Todate, the Eritrean State media has not mentioned them in any of its news reports nor has it given it condolences to the grieving families.

* Tigrinya hymn: “God Leads His Children


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  • AMAN

    New Year Message from EPLF !
    Dear Awates and Awatistas !
    Because I see you come to adopt and finally agree with my points and ideas
    though some denial in the beginning or at first; it makes me to be more dedicated
    and steadfast on the struggle I have been conducting and participating since 2001.
    I am so happy and content to see that my points and views have made the difference
    and positive impact in our collective struggle to steer our struggle in the right direction
    which for many years the struggle had been suffering from loosing its compass of
    navigating the struggle.
    We will always remain steadfast, dedicated and against all odds untill the success of all Eritrean
    people are achieved and realized with the demise of its enemies like the Nadews and Wuqaws of yesterday.

  • Nitricc

    Just a Q for you? who is/are the GUILTY once? i am expecting you to honest and to go deep.

    • Guest


      You’re a psychopath, you need a psychiatric help. Sure enough you’re hoping for the weyanes or Ethiopia to fall apart so that according to your sick and pathetic self Eritrea’s problems will go away. The fact of the matter is however, you’ve no idea the dark abyss Eritrea is sliding into. Let me give you a glimpse of what a sense of normalcy seems like: in his recent interview the cruel and sadist Isaias didn’t even mention the national tragedy of these three young girls let alone to say right at the beginning of the interview “first of all I would like to express my condolences to the grieving family, they are in our thoughts and prayers.” Instead he went on blabbering with an utter indifference to the agony and despair of the people. That is called pure evil. One thing you should know is the Weyanes are educating and investing heavily on their people particularly on the young people while they receive young Eritreans as they flee unabated the hell-hole fiefdom of the psychopath and sadistic Isaias.

      • Nitricc

        ” Let me give you a glimpse of what a sense of normalcy seems like: in his recent interview the cruel and sadist Isaias didn’t even mention the national tragedy of these three young girls let alone to say right at the beginning of the interview “first of all I would like to express my condolences to the grieving family, they are in our thoughts and prayers.”

        i am sorry but you are dumber that I thought. how is it a death of three girls a national tragedy? and you want a president of country to come out acknowledge about few defectors who died while trying to scape by breaking the law? true, no one deserved what happen to those young kids but the fact remains they were breaking the law! next time, try to think a little before you open your big mouth. sorry i don’t like stupid people. if weyane are educating their people go there, what the hell are you telling me about it.

    • Kokhob Selam

      yes Nitricc, I am going to be honest in this new year with you. It is Weyane and US. They don’t want to see our nation in peace and they are working against us. What shall we do? did I go deep and answer to you?

      Now ,it is my turn just a Q? why are you there? why don’t you start to live Eritrea and challenge Weyane? I mean the one who

  • Hope

    RIP and May God bless your souls!
    Unfortunately, as usual, this tragedy will be forgotten as a piece of news like all others including the Lampadusa one,the mother of all Tragedies
    Anta Amlakh”Lemma sebektani”
    ” O Lord,why are You forsaking us”.
    This does NOT make any sense to me.
    It does not either make any sense that we have not taken any tangible measures!
    Just edika temerika Mihlela ain’t going to solve it…, kem kemtselemti Americans, in the words of the same Beast!
    Interesting that he said it confidently in front of the six million people!

    • Hope

      Read as ” kem tselemti Americans”