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New information obtained by Compass Direct suggests that at least 1,918 Eritreans are presently in prison for their religious beliefs; ninety-five percent of them Christians. They are being subjected to torture and forced labour because of their faith. According to Release Eritrea, these numbers mean that approximately one in ten Eritrean evangelicals are presently being detained. One fourth of those in prison have been there for two or more years. None have been brought before a court of law to be charged or tried

During the month of August, at least twenty-nine Christians were arrested. Authorities have also clamped down on relief and development efforts of the Kalehiwet Church and are threatening to close an Anglican elementary school in Asmara.

Pray that those in prison will remain faithful to the Lord. Pray that they will be encouraged in the fact that God is with them in their afflictions (Isaiah 63:9). Pray that God will move the hearts of Eritrean authorities to stop the oppression of God's people.

For more information on Eritrea and the persecution of Christians there, click here. Testimonies of Christian Eritreans who have been forced to flee their country have recently been added to VOMC's multimedia website, https://www.vomcanada.com/. Log on to hear their stirring accounts.

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