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Compass Direct is reporting that, in separate arrests on November 23, Pastor Iyob and seven of his parishioners of the Kale Hiwot Church in the town of Mendefera, Eritrea were taken into custody. Friends and families have been unable to officially confirm the charges against them but local sources claim that their only crime is their evangelical Christian faith.

The November 25 report from Compass Direct also confirmed that ten young women from various Pentecostal churches had been recently arrested at Sawa, a military training camp near the Sudanese border.

Sawa camp

Sawa Training Camp

This past summer, over sixty young people were arrested and tortured at Sawa for possessing Bibles (see https://www.vomcanada.com/er-2003-08-27.htm). Six of these young people are still believed to be in isolation cells at the camp.

Earlier this month, two women were released after 21 months in the Assab military prison for participating in banned evangelical worship meetings.

With the latest arrests, the number of evangelical Christians reported to be in prison for their faith is estimated to be at least 334. Prison officials regularly use torture, deprivation and threats in attempts to force them to retract their evangelical beliefs. These arrests are part of a continuing effort to close all unauthorized churches. Only the Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelical Lutheran and Muslim faiths are recognized as "official" religions in Eritrea.

Pray for the strength for Christians to stand firm in their faith despite the continuing oppression. Pray that this campaign against evangelicals in Eritrea will stop and that freedom to worship and believe will be recognized.

The Voice of the Martyrs would urge you to write a polite letter to the Eritrean embassy or consulate in your country, protesting their mistreatment of evangelical Christians. You can find contact information at http://www.un.int/eritrea/world.


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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