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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 a video-recorded interview addressing these recent incidents.) In a surprising move, all but one of the Christians arrested in Asmara were released on April 11th. Typically, believers who have been arrested in Eritrea are held without charges against them, and not permitted any legal representation, for extended periods of time --- sometimes many years.

While there is no information available on the well-being of those released, it has emerged that the one Christian still in custody from the recent Asmara arrest is male. On the other hand, the 12 believers arrested in Assab remain in custody, being held in a prison that is infamous for its harsh conditions.

It has also been reported that 14 formerly arrested Christian men have recently been released after four years' detainment in the Nakura prison. These men were part of a large group arrested in the summer of 2017 on direct orders from President Afewerki. As is typical in Eritrea, no reason was given for the releases and none of those released had ever faced trial.

It is believed that there are a total of 12 Christian men remaining imprisoned in Nakura to date. For more information on the persecution of Christians in Eritrea, and to review previously published reports, go to our country report.

Praise God for these answered prayers! Please now pray for the physical, mental and emotional healing of each one who has recently been released from the Asmara and Nakura prisons. Continue to prayerfully remember the many other remaining imprisoned Christians throughout Eritrea, as well as their concerned families. May the Lord intervene on their behalf, extending His grace and providing for their spiritual and physical needs, as they await their hopeful soon release.

Country Information


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)

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.