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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 dashed when 35 believers were arrested for conducting prayer meetings in late March.

The army raided a prayer meeting in the capital city of Asmara and arrested 23 women, all of whom were taken to the Mai Sarawa prison. Another 12 Christians were arrested at a house meeting in the port city of Assab, which is near the Djibouti border, and transported to a nearby prison. Particular concern has been raised for those detained in Assab, since the prison there is reputed for its harsh conditions.

Eritrea's citizens have been told it is their duty to report anything untoward that may be happening in their community. It is suspected that the sound of vocalized prayer or singing may have alerted nearby neighbours, who reported these meetings to the military. VOMC's Greg Musselman was able to interview Andrew Boyd from Release International about this latest wave of arrests. To view this video, go to VOMCanada.com/ri-eritrea.

Pray that justice will prevail, and that these newly imprisoned believers will be released soon. As they await their anticipated release, may they stand firm in the face of their circumstances, taking comfort in the ministering presence of God's Holy Spirt. Also remember to pray for the many other Christians who have been held in Eritrean prisons for numerous years without charges or legal representation, asking for their divine rescue as well. May these long-suffering imprisoned believers be endowed with ongoing emotional, mental, physical and spiritual strength, knowing that they are being upheld in prayer by fellow Christians around the world --- and, most importantly, by our Lord Jesus Himself.

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

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  • 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.