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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 January. Some of those released had been held in captivity for more than ten years, often under horrific conditions.

Those recently released include Mussie Eyob, who was arrested in February 2011 for preaching to Muslims (read more). The names of other recently freed believers are also becoming known. It has been revealed that Twen Theodros was released in late 2020. Helen Berhane writes of her friendship with Twen in her autobiography, Song of the Nightingale. As they suffered together in the same shipping container, Twen often cared for Helen's physical needs. For more on Twen's story, see this page.

It is now believed that there are about 150 Christians remaining imprisoned in Eritrea. The reason behind the releases is unclear, but it may be an attempt to deflect international attention away from the involvement of Eritrean troops in the war within the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

Praise be to our Heavenly Father for mightily working on behalf of His suffering children and making it possible for more of them to be freed from prison! May the governing officials of Eritrea refrain from opposing the Gospel and stop their oppression of His people. Pray that the Christians remaining in prison will be encouraged and fortified by the presence of the Holy Spirit among them as they eagerly await their hopeful release from captivity.

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.