Source: BBC News
In an unprecedented move, Eritrean bishops in the Orthodox church have expelled their former patriarch, Abune Antonios.
Antonios, who was the head of the church until 2006, was accused of heresy in a statement signed by a group of top bishops.
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He has for a long time been a critic of the government and was deposed and put under house arrest 13 years ago.
His followers accuse the government of interfering in church affairs.
Eritrea has an estimated population of 4,954,645 as of 2016. No reliable census data is available, the best available estimates being published by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The population has doubled over the past 30 years, with an accelerating growth rate estimated at close to 3.2% p.a. during 2005–2010. This rate of population growth is sustained despite a high emigration rate; the World Bank as of 2010 estimated that close to a million of Eritreans have emigrated.
The nation has nine recognized ethnic groups. According to SIL Ethnologue, Tigrayans make up about 50% of the population; the Tigre, who also speak a Semitic language, constitute around 30% of residents. Most of the rest of the population belong to other Afro-Asiatic-speaking communities of the Cushitic branch. Additionally, there are a number of Nilo-Saharan-speaking ethnic minorities and other smaller groups.