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Compass Direct has reported on a crackdown on Protestant Christians in Eritrea during February and March. A total of 170 Protestant Christians have been jailed, beaten and threatened with death by Eritrean security forces.

According to a report received on April 9, in five separate incidents, police barged into worship services and a wedding ceremony to jail men, women and children for practicing what government officials called "a new religion."

Although no formal charges have been filed, those jailed were held in cramped, suffocating cells for up to two weeks for refusing to return to the historically dominant Orthodox Church faith. One group endured 15 days in metal containers designed as severe punishment cells. Another congregation witnessed its pastor being tortured and humiliated in the jail yard. When relatives posted bail for their release, they were forced to sign a statement acknowledging that if a bailed prisoner was caught meeting in public or private with more than three others, he would be liable for execution.

Seventy-four soldiers remain in a military prison near the southern port city of Assab. They were arrested in February 2002 for refusing to recant their personal religious beliefs and return to the Orthodox Church.

Pray for a strength and peace from the Holy Spirit for those suffering for their religious convictions in Eritrea. Pray that those in prison will soon be released.

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
6,147,398 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Tigrinya (50), Tigre (30), Saho (4), Afar (4) Kunama (4), Bilen (3), other (5)

Religion (%)
Islam (47.4), Christianity (48.8), other (3.8)

Leader
President Isaias Afworki (1993)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of civil, customary, and Islamic religious law

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Operation World

Pray for Eritrea

Ask the Lord to provide imprisoned Eritrean believers a means of escape and a place of safe refuge. Pray for Him to also work deeply in the hearts of the country's governing officials so they will grant His people the freedom to worship Him and glorify His matchless name. Mindful of their own human frailties, may these political leaders realize the need to make Jesus their own personal Saviour and Lord by accepting His gift of eternal salvation.

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Eritrea News

  • Christians Arrested During Prayer Meeting
    Several rusty shipping containers - Photo: VOMC
    Prison officials continue to hold detainees in cramped, unsanitary shipping containers.
    Photo: VOMC

    In mid-March, 29 evangelical Christians were arrested when Eritrean security forces raided a home prayer meeting in Asmara. According to reports, 17 women and 12 men were taken to the Mai Serwa prison

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  • Fifteen Christians Rearrested
    Video: Kidane Gebremeskel Gedion
    Click to view video.

    Eritrean authorities recently arrested 15 Christians during a series of raids on their houses in the capital city of Asmara. All 15 believers had been previously imprisoned for their faith – some for up to 16 years.

  • Three Elderly Pastors Arrested
    Georgio Gebreab and Samuel Okbamichael - Photos: Church in Chains
    Georgio Gebreab and Samuel Okbamichael
    Photos: Church in Chains

    Three semi-retired pastors in the Eritrean capital of Asmara were arrested towards the latter part of July. Since they were all over 70 years old, and only occasionally conducted funeral or wedding services, it is unclear why these elde

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