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Sawa Military Centre
Police and military authorities jailed sixty-eight Christians during the first week of January, according to a January 23 report from Compass Direct. The wave of arrests occurred in three official round-up operations against both Protestant evangelicals and Orthodox renewal movement church members.

On January 4, military commanders at the national Sawa Military Centre performed what they called "a random check-up on the activities of Christian extremists" on student conscripts. They searched the conscripts' personal effects, finding 250 Bibles which they burned in front of the entire military camp. The commanders then arrested thirty-five of the teenage students and ordered that they be subjected to severe military punishment, including physical torture.

On January 5, police took eight staff members of government ministries, five men and three women, into custody. The Christians -- who are all members of Medhane Alem, an Eritrean Orthodox Church renewal movement -- are reportedly being interrogated and pressured by police to identify all leaders and supporters of their movement. Police have informed their families that the arrest order came from higher authorities.

In another January 5 incident, twenty-five Christians in the southern port city of Assab were arrested by police. All of the prisoners, including seven women, were incarcerated at the Wi'a Military Camp, where they were pressured to recant their faith.

Pray for the release of all Eritrean Christians who are imprisoned because of their loyalty to Christ. Ask God to open doors of opportunity for them in prison so that they can share the gospel for which they suffer (Colossians 4:2-3). Pray that those who are being tortured for their faith will be strengthened and delivered by the Lord (2 Corinthians 1:9-11).

For more information on persecution in Eritrea, click here.

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