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On May 8, three women from the Full Gospel Church in Nefasit, Eritrea were detained on allegations of "actively witnessing about Christ." According to a May 19 report from Compass Direct, all three women had to leave young children in their homes when they were detained by authorities. Ghenet Gebremariam's six-month-old baby, Hazaiel Daniel, was desperately ill at the time. Two days later, the baby died. When security police heard the news, they released Ghenet on bail. The other two women, Meslale Abraham and Alganshe Tsagay, remain in custody. No reason is given for their arrest other than their involvement in a church banned by the government.

In a separate incident, fifty evangelical students are reported to have been put under harsh military punishment at the Mai Nefhee Educational Institution, a military service centre in Asmara during the first week of May. According to relatives, the thirty-three women and seventeen men were found to be evangelical Christians as part of a campaign by the Defense Ministry to identify all students at the institution who are involved in "illegal" Protestant activities.

Compass Direct also reported that the persecution of Christians in Eritrea has even extended into the officially-recognized Eritrean Orthodox Church. Sixty-five key members and coordinators of the Medhane Alem Sunday School movement within the Orthodox Church were excommunicated on March 28. Three of the members, identified as Samson, Michael and Naemen, were arrested a week later, accused of instigating open resistance to the excommunications. At last report, the three remain in custody. For the past nine months, the Eritrean Orthodox Church's Holy Synod has effectively been under government control.

Pray that the Eritrean believers will remain faithful and unashamed of the Gospel, knowing that the power of the gospel will continue to affect lives for eternity despite the government's concerted efforts to control or destroy the Church (Romans 1:16). Pray that the mother who has lost her baby will be comforted in the fact that she will see him again (2 Samuel 12:23). Ask God to protect the children who are left without their mothers' care, and that the mothers will have the joy of knowing that the Lord is caring for them in their absence (Psalm 68:5). Ask God to encourage the military students in Asmara and give them His wisdom as they face their accusers (Matthew 10:19). Ask God to comfort and strengthen those within the Eritrean Orthodox Church who are facing repercussions for their involvement the Sunday School movement.

For more information on the suffering facing Eritrea's Christians, click here. Two new video reports on Eritrea are available on VOMC's multimedia website, https://www.vomcanada.com/. The videos give testimonies of Eritrean Christians who have been forced to flee their nation because of their faith. The feature article of the May edition of The Voice of the Martyrs Newsletter features the testimonies of these Eritrean believers who have suffered for their faith. You can read this article online by subscribing to our free newsletter today on our newsletter page.

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

  • 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