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A market in Keren, Eritrea - Photo: Flickr / David Stanley
A market in Keren, Eritrea.
Photo: Flickr / David Stanley (c)

A recent wave of raids against Christians has taken place, with at least 150 arrested in the past two months. On June 23rd, 70 members of the Faith Mission Church of Christ in Keren were arrested (see this report). The believers were taken to the Ashufera prison which, according to reports, consists of a series of tunnels in a remote area outside of the city. Prisoners there are forced to dig more tunnels when additional space is needed.

Also in Keren, six Christian government employees were taken to court on August 16th where the judge ordered them to renounce their faith. All six refused, saying they would not "negotiate their faith." Two days later, 80 more Christians were detained by security officials in Godayef, an area near the Asmara airport. Those detained had been taken to a police station where they were still being held at last report. For more information on the suffering facing Christians in Eritrea, go to our online country report.

Praise God for the ongoing testimony of these believers who are standing firm in the midst of trials. May their faith and endurance be a source of encouragement to other followers of Christ and a testimony to those in need of His eternal salvation -- including their captors. Ask the Lord to also continue ministering to the many Eritrean Christians suffering deplorable prison conditions in other parts of the country because of their beliefs. May He mediate on their behalf as well, miraculously making a way for their safe release.

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