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Shipping containers
The Mai Serwa prison often uses metal shipping containers as jail cells.

In September and October of 2020, a total of 69 Christian prisoners were released from the Mai Serwa prison near Asmara for reasons that are unclear. According to a recent report from Church in Chains, an additional ten Christians have since been released from the same prison during the second week of January. While the names of these latest released prisoners have not been made public, it is known that some of them were held in custody for over five years. (To date, no reports have been received indicating the release of detainees from other prisons in Eritrea.)

With this latest announcement regarding the discharge of prisoners from Mai Serwa prison, it is now estimated that there are just under 300 Christians incarcerated, many without charge. For other reports on the persecution of believers in Eritrea, go to our country report.

Praise God for those who have been recently released! Continue to remember our Eritrean brothers and sisters in Christ who remain in custody, often under severe and inhumane conditions. Pray for the Lord to work deeply in the hearts of the Eritrean authorities so they will cease their campaign against Christians and realize their need to acknowledge Him as their personal Saviour too.

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

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  • 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.