In April 2023, more than one hundred talented Christian young people, who are members of a musical group known as the Mahalians, were arrested after recording songs of praise that they had intended to share on YouTube. The Eritrean government deemed their recording session to be an illegal church gathering as the believers were not members of a government-approved church.
In September, it was announced that close to half of the detained youth had been released. Since then, more imprisoned believers have gained their freedom, generally in small groups at a time. As of late November, it was reported that around 20 young people were still being held in captivity, with hopes that they too would soon be released.
While there has been no change in governmental policy, sources report that hundreds of Christian prisoners have been released in the past few months and that fewer believers than normal were arrested during the same period. The total number of Christians currently incarcerated for their faith in Eritrea is estimated to be around 300.