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Animal market in EritreaThe Eritrean government has stepped up its campaign against Christians, arresting almost a hundred followers of Christ in recent weeks. The arrests came as believers in the repressive East African country marked ten years since government officials placed the Eritrean Orthodox Patriarch, Abune Antonios, under house arrest and incommunicado, and 15 years since the forced closure of many churches.

Since the government passed a law shutting down many churches, some Christians meet in secret. Evangelicals are at particular risk since a 2002 law was passed -- prohibiting churches other than those of Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran affiliation. However, as the Orthodox leader's incarceration shows, members of permitted churches are also at risk if they criticize the regime.

The fresh wave of arrests took place early this May, leading up to Eritrea's Independence Day (May 24th). Many Christians found themselves under added scrutiny around the time of the country's Independence Day celebrations because they are reluctant to participate in ceremonies that go against their conscience.

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, at least 28 Christians have died during their incarceration -- or shortly after being released -- as a result of harsh treatment in prison or withheld medical treatment. Those who have survived imprisonment recount facing torture, hard labour, filthy conditions and insufficient food. Other reports on persecution in Eritrea -- including informative video documentaries -- are available at this page.

Thank you for joining us in prayer on behalf of our oppressed Eritrean brothers and sisters who are at great risk of imminent action being taken against them. May their troubled hearts receive God's assurance and peace, especially if they have witnessed friends or family members being taken into custody for following Christ. As for those who are in prison, pray that their resolve will be strengthened as they wait for the Lord's deliverance. In the meantime, may they be greatly encouraged in the knowledge that although they have temporarily lost their physical freedom, they have spiritual freedom in Christ which is a precious treasure.

 

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

    ...