Anguish continues in Sudan after a 24-hour ceasefire expires
The crisis in Sudan continues to deepen after the 24-hour ceasefire agreement brokered by the U.S. and Saudi governments expired
Following the 2021 military coup and the political uncertainties, a conflict broke out between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) led by General Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by General Dagalo this April. The confrontation began around Khartoum and spread across the country, leading to hundreds of civilian deaths and more than 1.9 million internally displaced people. Several churches have been damaged in attacks and many church leaders were beaten or wounded. Blasphemy laws are being used to persecute Christians – many are afraid to share their faith for fear that they will be accused of ‘acts that encourage apostasy against Islam’.
Unidentified attackers shot at worshippers and assaulted a priest, Anba Sarabamon, leaving him with multiple fractures. They destroyed his residence and raided the home of an elderly women and a dormitory for young women, before stealing the priest’s car.
Seida Nuri is a Christian widow in her 50s. Her husband, Peter, was killed in battle after he joined the army. Seida was raised as a Muslim and converted to Christianity. Since then her Muslim family has been pressurizing her to renounce her faith by offering her support in exchange for returning to Islam. But, despite the difficulties of living as a widow, she is determined to hold on to Jesus.
Christian women and girls are constantly vulnerable to rape, forced marriage and domestic violence for their faith. Islamic extremists kidnap Sudanese girls for marriage and sexual slavery.
Access to emergency post-rape kits has been cut off, as the warehouses where these are stored, have been locked. Attacks on medical warehouses in South Darfur have also depleted medical supplies. According to Sulaima Ishaq, the director of the Sudanese government’s Combating Violence Against Women Unit “Rapes are happening everywhere. What is officially reported is just a small fraction of the cases.”
Authorities also target Church leaders: a common method is to falsely plant drugs on them and arrest them on fraudulent charges. Christian men and boys, particularly converts, are vulnerable to beatings, imprisonment or even murder. Converts may be kicked out of their house and shunned by their families, and face intense persecution in the workplace.
Leaving Islam and converting to Christianity is illegal and can be punished with the death sentence. Christian converts often keep their faith completely secret. Some have been put under house arrest by their families when their new faith was discovered.