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Photo: Release International

Eritrean security forces have arrested 185 Christians following a raid on a prayer meeting. Most of those arrested were women. It's believed that these Christians had gathered in the suburb of Maitemenai (north of the capital, Asmara) to pray about the dangerous exodus of Eritreans from the country. "The arrest has alarmed underground church leaders who fear that this may be a sign of things to come," states Paul Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of Release International in the United Kingdom. He adds that "church leaders fear this mass arrest could herald a new clampdown on Christians and a wave of further detentions."

Eritrea is currently detaining more than a thousand Christians because of their faith. Many others face harassment and other forms of persecution. While the whereabouts of the latest detainees has not been officially confirmed, their relatives believe some are being held at a police station in an adjoining district of Edaga Hamus.

In 2002, the Eritrean government shut down all churches not belonging to the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran denominations, and has since been arresting leaders not affiliated with these religious groups. Severe restrictions have also been imposed on the permitted denominations, ensuring that outspoken leaders are persecuted. The UN's Special Rapporteur on human rights reports that thousands of Eritreans are fleeing their country every month, despite an alleged 'shoot-to-kill policy' which was reportedly implemented in an effort to thwart citizens who are attempting to leave.

For a recently aired 10-minute audio news interview on the plight presently facing Christians in Eritrea, please go to online audio file. If you are seeking a way to help our suffering Eritrean brothers and sisters in Christ, you may do so through VOMC's Underground Church Fund.

Just as God safely led the Israelites out of captivity during an extremely volatile time in ancient history, may the same be true for these modern-day believers whose lives are dangerously at risk. Likewise, pray for His supernatural provision to be made available to them -- whether it be practical necessities such as food, clean drinking water, and a safe warm place to lay their heads; or the spiritual fortitude and faith to continue on another day. May their courage and long-suffering be rewarded in ways that far exceed their greatest expectations (Ephesians 3:20).

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
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)

Leader
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

    ...
  • Recently Arrested Christian Prisoners Released
    Nakura prison - Photo: Church in Chains https://www.churchinchains.ie/
    Nakura prison
    Photo: Church in Chains

    Earlier this month, it was reported that 23 women had been arrested at a prayer meeting in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, along with 12 others in the city of Assab. (To review a previously posted report, go to our country report, where there is also a link to

    ...