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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


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)

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

  • 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