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Video: Kidane Gebremeskel Gedion
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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.

Over the past year, numerous Christian prisoners in this East African nation have been released, leading to some speculation that a change in policy may be imminent. However, these recent arrests, together with that of three elderly pastors in late July, demonstrate that the persecution of Christians is still taking place in the country. (A previously posted report on the arrest of the pastors is available here.)

All 15 of the recently arrested followers of Jesus had been released last summer, but they were apprehended again after a list of Christian contacts was discovered by the authorities. These rearrested believers were all taken to the Mai Serwa maximum security prison in Asmara. There are now an estimated 160 Christians being held captive in prisons throughout Eritrea.

VOMC's Minister-at-Large, Greg Musselman, was privileged to recently interview Kidane Gebremeskel Gedion, an Eritrean pastor who endured imprisonment for two-and-a-half years. To view their televised conversation, which was aired on the 100 Huntley Street program, please go to this page. A more extensive report and interview with Pastor Kidane may be viewed here.

Continue to remember the many Christians who are presently suffering for their faith amid the inhumane conditions of Eritrea's prisons. Also prayerfully uphold their families who must endure years of separation without being permitted to visit their imprisoned loved ones or even verify their state of health and well-being. Ask God to mightily intervene on behalf of these families, stirring the hearts of the country's governmental leaders who need to realize the importance of treating all citizens justly and with respect, which includes granting them rightful freedom of religion. Furthermore, pray for the ongoing efforts of evangelists who, despite the risks of ill-treatment and imprisonment, continue to courageously share the "Good News" of the Gospel throughout the nation.

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