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Prison tower

Recently, we had reported that 31 Christian prisoners were unexpectedly freed from custody (read more). With thanksgiving, we are now pleased to announce the exciting news that more Christians have been conditionally released, bringing the total to 69! While many of these prisoners have spent years behind bars, none of them ever faced trial.

The release of these prisoners understandably brings great joy to their family members and friends. Yet, when Eritrean Christians took to the streets in praise and celebration, five women were arrested on the spot. All of the apprehended women were mothers.

While some people within the country have suggested that the recent releases took place due to the pandemic, Dr. Berhane Asmelash, Director of Release Eritrea, is skeptical. Given these new arrests, he believes it's premature at this stage to expect a drastic change of policy within the Eritrean government. Dr. Asmelash estimates that approximately 300 Christian prisoners are still being held without charge in Eritrea.

After the initial releases took place last month, VOMC's Greg Musselman was able to interview Dr. Asmelash. To view this informative interview, click here.

Praise the Lord with us over the wonderful news that these faithful servants of God have finally been freed from captivity. Continue to prayerfully uphold them, as well as their families, as they adjust to life after so many years of imprisonment. Also intercede for the women who were recently arrested, asking God to grant them grace and strength as they await His divine intervention. May their families -- especially the children -- also experience the Lord's abiding peace and comfort, knowing they can place their hope in Him.

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

  • 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

    ...
  • 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.