News by email Donate

Suggestions

Eritrea-banner.png
Open Doors
Eritrea-thumb.png
Open Doors
World News

Persecuted Christians arrested at baby's first birthday party in Eritrea

by Ros Mayfield

A family celebration that should have been full with joy turned to anguish in Eritrea last weekend, when police raided a baby's first birthday party, and arrested 30 Christian adults along with an unknown number of children.

According to a source reporting to Open Doors, the incident happened in the country’s capital, Asmara, on 20 January.  Christians were taken to a nearby police station, while "unbelievers were sent home".

The charity, which works to protect freedom of religion and belief around the world, says the group had gathered to celebrate the birthday of a Christian family's firstborn child.

Eritrea, which borders Ethiopia, in north east of Africa, is fourth on the list of most dangerous countries to be a Christian, according to Open Doors' World Watch List 2024. 

Only three Christian denominations are allowed by the Eritrean government – Orthodox, Lutheran and Catholic – and all are subject to heavy monitoring. Those who try to meet outside these recognised groups - such as Pentecostal or evangelical churches - risk raids, fines or long-term imprisonment under notoriously poor conditions.  

The charity says Eritrea is known as the ‘North Korea of Africa’ because of its intense authoritarian rule.  Despite this, almost half the population, 1.7 million of the 3.7 million people in Eritrea, are Christian.

Church leaders often targeted in particular, during the raids to round out 'unsanctioned believers'. Those seized can be detained indefinitely. Current estimates suggest around 1,000 Eritrean Christians remain imprisoned without charge, while members of some house churches have been in prison for more than ten years.

Open Doors says last weekend's arrests are a stark reminder of the day-to-day reality many Christians there face.

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email

Connect

Donate

Donate