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Sudan: At least 32 churches burned down over the last year

In the time of the Emperor Justinian (AD 527-565), Nubia (modern-day Sudan) was a Christian stronghold. Today, most Sudanese Christians are Roman Catholic or Protestant, and there is still a small number of Greek Orthodox Christians there. As is the case in so many other countries, all the Christians in Sudan are vulnerable to government harassment as well as vigilante violence. In this case, the deputy chair of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), General Jagot Mukwar, says: “The government is killing its own people. They are burning churches. They do not want people to be Christians.”

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, and turn the hearts of the governing authorities to Christ in repentance.

“Dozens of churches burned in Sudan,” by Rebecca Paveley, Church Times, March 8, 2019:

AT LEAST 32 churches have been burned down in the Nuba Mountains area of Sudan over the past year, opposition leaders have said, with reports that up to 40 more may have been demolished.

Baroness Cox visited the region of the Nuba Mountains in Southern Kordofan last month with her charity Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART), before flying to South Sudan to collect testimony from regional leaders and communities. In the Nuba Mountains, her team found that thousands of people were still displaced after years of conflict and are too terrified to return home.

Although a ceasefire is technically in place between the Sudanese government of President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), military planes from the Sudanese airforce still fly overhead, and local officials told the HART team that the conflict continued, with frequent indiscriminate attacks on Christians.

The Commissioner for the Nuba Montains, David Isaiah, told Lady Cox and her team: “The government of Sudan is using every means to mislead the world into thinking there is no war in the Nuba Mountains.”

The Nuba conflict is an extension of the long civil war that eventually provided South Sudan with its independence in July 2011 (News, 1 July 2011). The Nuba people played a key part in helping the former South Sudan rebel forces to gain sovereignty. But, in the mineral-rich areas of the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile State, promises of autonomy were unfulfilled, and suspected rigged local elections triggered renewed fighting between the Sudan government and the rebels.

The areas are still home to many Christians, although the population is religiously mixed, including animists and Muslims.

The deputy chair of SPLM-N, General Jagot Mukwar, said: “Antonovs [Sudan’s military aircraft] have not dropped bombs for two years. But we hear that government troops could be moving closer. In November and December, civilians were ambushed on the main road in Habila. It happened three times in two months. Two weeks ago, a farm was burnt, also in Habila. The government is killing its own people. They are burning churches. They do not want people to be Christians. They want us to speak in Arabic. They want us to have Arabic names.”…

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