(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)
Sawa Military Training Camp
According to a February 2 report from Compass Direct, military authorities in Eritrea have placed seventy-five recent conscripts in jail for "reading Bibles and praying during their free time." The evangelical Christians were primarily youths serving compulsory military service at the Sawa Military Camp. According to reports from Eritrea, none of those detained had attempted to conduct a Christian meeting. They were only carrying out normal Christian activities during their free time. In contrast, Muslim conscripts are allowed to read the Quran and pray five times each day. According to confirmed reports, the Christians have been placed under "military detention and punishment." It is believed that nearly 1800 Christians are presently being detained in Eritrea because of their faith in Jesus.

Pray that the Lord will continue to embolden these young believers to remain true to Christ. Ask God to move the hearts of the government leaders in Eritrea to acknowledge the religious freedom of all of their citizens. Pray that God will use the VOMC weekly shortwave radio broadcast to Eritrea, "Voice of Light," to minister to those who have little access to Christian fellowship. To listen to this program online, click here.

For more information on the persecution facing Eritrea's Christians, go to click here. To view video reports on Eritrea are available on https://www.vomcanada.com/.

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.


Select a Region

Eritrea News

  • More Church Leaders Detained
    Church building
    A church in Eritrea

    In 2002, the government of Eritrea outlawed every religion except for Sunni Islam, Eritrean Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism. Since then, the oppression against other religious groups has been severe. Even those within the approved faith groups have been at risk of op

  • Twenty Years of Oppression
    Eritrean Bible
    Photo: VOMC

    In May 2002, the Eritrean government closed all unregistered churches and established legislation outlawing any religious community except for Sunni Islam, Eritrean Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism. Government oppression and control was strongly instituted, even within these

  • 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