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Sudan: 13 Christians arrested in Darfur, another church told to hand over property

In the time of the Emperor Justinian (AD 527-565), Nubia (modern-day Sudan) was a Christian stronghold, and there is still a small number of Greek Orthodox Christians there. Most Sudanese Christians are Roman Catholic or Protestant, and, as is the case in so many other countries, all Christians are vulnerable to government harassment as well as vigilante violence. In this case, Christians have been subjected to arbitrary arrest on charges that have not been made clear, and a church is being forced to turn over its property to a state-appointed committee. Like many other governments, the Sudanese government is clearly afraid of how the growth of Christianity could transform their nation. May Almighty God work nonetheless to affect that transformation, for the good of all Sudanese people.

“Sudan: 13 Christians arrested in Darfur, another church told to hand over property,” World Watch Monitor, October 17, 2018:

Sudanese security officials arrested 13 Christians in the western region of Darfur on Saturday, 13 October.

The Christians were taken from a home they share in the city of Nyala, southwest Darfur, by officials belonging to the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) but it is not clear on what charges, a local source told World Watch Monitor. Three of them have since been released without an explanation, the source said.

Sudanese laws allow NISS to hold people in detention for up to four and a half months before they have to either charge or release them.

Meanwhile a church in Omdurman, near the capital Khartoum, has been told to hand over ownership of its properties to a state-appointed committee.

The government and the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) have been in a long-standing dispute over ownership of the denomination’s properties, after the Ministry of Religious Affairs set up a rival land and buildings committee and charged it with the administration of SCOC’s property.

“The Omdurman police summoned the church’s leader on Monday [8 October] and ordered him to hand over leadership of the congregation to a rival committee,” a local source told World Watch Monitor, adding: “They want the congregation to vacate their compound.”

The president of SCOC, Ayouba Telyan, who is a member of the church, was also summoned but later released after he clarified that he was not the church’s leader.

The SCOC represents about 220,000 of Sudan’s one million Christians, in over a thousand congregations….

A delegation from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom visited Khartoum and North Darfur in May and heard from stakeholders “that there is no religious freedom” in Sudan.

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