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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.