(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)
Eritrean women praying - Photo: World Watch Monitor www.worldwatchmonitor.org
Many Eritrean believers are compelled to pray in secret.
Photo: World Watch Monitor

The Eritrean government has released 31 Christians from Mai Serwa prison who were detained without charge or trial for years. It is believed there were 21 men and 10 women in this group, and that none of them were church leaders. At least two of the women were minors when first imprisoned -- one was only 12 years old (age 28 today); and the other was 16 (now 30). This action follows the release of 22 Methodist Christians from another prison in July.

Recently received reports indicate that a total of 54 believers are expected to be released, beginning with those who were imprisoned the longest. The reasons for the release have not been given, though it may be connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those who have been liberated, however, conditions remain. It is reported that these prisoners are not free to leave the country, and that property deeds were submitted as a guarantee.

Estimates pertaining to the number of Christian prisoners in the country range from 300 to 3,000. Many of these believers have been detained without charge for more than a decade. Some, such as those in the Mai Serwa prison, have been kept in metal shipping containers -- exposed to the desert heat by day and the cold by night. The remaining prisoners may also face beatings and torture due to the officials' attempts to force the renouncement of these believers' faith. A video report with Dr. Berhane from Release Eritrea will be released shortly. An excerpt is available at VOMCanada.com/video/release-eritrea.

Praise God for the release of these believers who have stood firm in the midst of extreme trials. May their endurance be a source of inspiration to other followers of Christ. Please pray that fellow Christians would come alongside those who have been discharged as they now seek the Lord's direction and try to readjust to life outside of prison after spending years in custody. Ask God to touch the hearts of Eritrea's governing authorities, in hopes they will change their ways and encourage true religious harmony in the country. Also pray that the Lord will continue ministering to the many Eritrean believers who are still imprisoned for their faith, as well as the family members suffering alongside them. May these incarcerated believers likewise be acquitted.

Country Information


6,081,196 (July 2020 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Tigrinya (55), Tigre (30), Saho (4), Kunama (2), Rashaida (2), Bilen (2), 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.


Select a Region

Eritrea News

  • 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

  • 35 New Arrests
    Video: Interview with Andrew Boyd regarding recent arrests
    Click to view the video.

    In recent months, we joyfully shared the good news that dozens of Christians had been released from prisons in Eritrea (see our country report). However, any hopes that the string of releases signalled a change of heart towards Christians in the oppressive regime were dashe

  • 83 More Christian Prisoners Released!
    Mussie Eyob and Twen Theodros
    Mussie Eyob and Twen Theodros were
    among those released from prison.

    Over the past six months, we have been pleased to announce the release of Christian prisoners from Eritrean prisons. According to a recent report from Church in Chains, at least 83 more Christians have been released since late Janu