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eritreaTwo Christian women tragically died in Eritrea on March 17th, just days after being transferred to a hospital from detention where they had been on a hunger strike. According to the Eritrean website, Erimedrek News, the two women were detained at the Wi'a military camp prior to being transported in critical condition to Massawa Hospital on March 12th. They had embarked on a hunger strike in protest of the horrific abuse they were receiving while in detention. Upon medical investigation, their bodies were allegedly marked with bruising consistent with sexual abuse.

The Eritrean government is one of the most repressive in the world. Thousands of prisoners of conscience are detained arbitrarily for indefinite periods of time in unsatisfactory facilities where conditions are life-threatening and torture is rife. A campaign of arrests targeting selected religious communities has been ongoing since 2002 when the government effectively outlawed all Christian practises not affiliated with certain denominations and Sunni Islam.

In its June 2016 report, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on human rights in Eritrea found "reasonable grounds to believe" that crimes against humanity have been committed by state officials in a "widespread and systematic manner" since 1991. Crimes of persecution against religious groups involve all forms of abuse, including repeated rape or gang rape by detention officials.

Thank you for upholding the grieving families and friends of the two deceased Christian women. As they grieve over the tragic loss of these precious lives, may they take comfort in knowing that their loved ones are now in the glorious presence of Jesus -- where they are freed from pain, sorrow and fear.... Pray that this case will be used to expose the grave injustices and evil practices within Eritrea's prison system and, therefore, serve to bring about greatly needed change. Additionally, please intercede for the safe release of the numerous Christians remaining in captivity, and for God's wisdom and protection to be granted to all who are diligently striving to carry out the Great Commission in this repressive nation.

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