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Five of seven Christians arrested in December and January for alleged "cult" activities and detained under Brunei's Internal Security Act have been released. It was not known if any conditions were attached to their release, which occurred during the week of February 12, but they were reportedly told not to leave the country or talk about their detention, according to a source who did not want to be identified.

Two Christians remain in detention. Two other believers called in for questioning on February 22 were released the same day.

A source close to the case said the Christians were detained because of their participation in a well-organized prayer program.

Among those released in mid February were Mohammed Fredie Chong, a retired senior police officer, who was arrested on December 18; Tokching bin Ikas, an engineer with the Health Department; Mariam Murang; Mary Cheong, a dentist; and 'Ibu' Roslin, a housewife. Tokching, Murang, Cheong and Roslin were arrested on January 30. The two Christians still being held are Malai Taufick Haji Malai Mashor and Yunus Murang, who was visiting Taufick at the time of their December 17 arrest.

Mariam Murang (the sister of Yunus), Cheong, and Roslin are reported to be in good spirits, despite their ordeal. While imprisoned, Cheong and Roslin fasted, prayed and sang "like Paul and Silas," a friend reported, a reference to chapter 16 of the New Testament book, "The Acts of the Apostles." Concerned prison guards asked them how they could be strong without eating.

"You people are strange. Instead of being sad, you sing," a guard is reported to have said.

Just after midnight on December 17, about 50 police officers surrounded Taufick's house in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital city of Brunei. Identifying ...

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Five Christians Released in Brunei
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