25 January 2024

At least 30 Christians arrested in Eritrea as police raid baby’s first birthday party

A large group of Christians have been arrested in Eritrea in a sobering reminder of why Eritrea is number four on the latest World Watch List.

Eritrea is number four on the latest World Watch List; Christians living there can face extreme persecution for their faith

Thirty Christian adults, plus an unknown number of children, have been arrested in Eritrea. They had gathered to celebrate the first birthday of a Christian family’s firstborn child.

The incident happened in the country’s capital, Asmara, on 20 January. According to an Open Doors source, whilst believers from the gathering were taken to a nearby police station, ‘unbelievers were sent home’.

Cost and courage

Eritrea is number four on the latest World Watch List, which was released last week. It’s known as the ‘North Korea of Africa’ because of its intense authoritarian rule.

Only three Christian denominations are allowed – Orthodox, Lutheran and Catholic – and they are subject to heavy monitoring. Those who gather outside these recognised groups risk raids, fines and even long-term imprisonment, where conditions are notoriously awful. 

This latest incident is a stark reminder of why Eritrea is so high on the World Watch List. But despite this, believers continue to courageously stand firm in their faith and many more are coming to know Jesus, too. 

  • That God’s Spirit will provide for the persecuted church, and give them wisdom and discernment in everything they do
  • That many people on all levels of government will be moved by what so many imprisoned Christians go through
  • That prison guards will start asking questions about the ‘crime’ these Christians have ‘committed’, prompting questions about their own belief systems.

Find out more about what it’s like to be a Christian in Eritrea, as well as places like North Korea, China, Nigeria and Nicaragua, with our Top 50 booklet. Also includes inspirational stories, prayer requests and updates from the latest report. The resource is free and you can order as many copies as you’d like!


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