Dozens of Christians released in Eritrea, more languish behind bars

By April 15, 2021

Eritrea (MNN) — More Christians have been released in Eritrea, but the fight isn’t over yet.  Of the 35 believers arrested at prayer meetings a few weeks ago, 22 were set free on Sunday.

Persecution watchdogs are trying to get details on the 13 Christians who remain behind bars, Greg Musselman with Voice of the Martyrs Canada says.

“Over the years, we’ve heard of thousands of evangelicals being put in military prisons, shipping containers; just horrible situations.”

Eritrean prisoners are sometimes held in shipping containers such as this one. (Photo by Victória Kubiaki on Unsplash)

Believers can languish in captivity for years. Learn more here. “They often aren’t even charged with anything and they don’t go to court,” Musselman continues. In an unexpected move, Eritrea’s government released dozens of prisoners in late February. Many believers thought, “‘Hey, things are changing!’” Musselman says.

“The Eritrean government may be trying to curry favor with Ethiopia, their neighbor country, because the Prime Minister there is a Christian.”

As the March arrests show, these changes were too good to be true. “[Our] hopes that the Eritrean government was loosening its grip on evangelicals now seem to be going in the opposite direction,” Musselman admits.

Ask the Lord to strengthen believers in prison, and pray they’ll know they are not forgotten. Advocate on behalf of Eritrean Christians through VOM Canada. Learn more here.

“We need to have our governments put pressure on the Eritrean government and say, ‘Look, if you want to have relationships with our countries, you need to ease up on these Christians’,” Musselman says.

“This country is claiming religious freedom but that’s not happening at all.”



Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Grant Durr/Unsplash.

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