March 6, 2014

SUDAN: Islamist Sudanese Authorities Demolish Church Building, Confiscate Land, in Anti-Christian Campaign Without Prior Notice; Sudanese Air Force Bombed More Christians In South Kordofan. >:/

Morningstar News
written by Staff
Thursday February 20, 2014

Sudanese authorities on Monday (Feb. 17) demolished a church building in Omdurman without prior notice, area sources said.

In what Sudanese Christians believe is part of a campaign by Islamist President Omar al-Bashir to rid the country of Christianity, bulldozers accompanied by local police and personnel from the National Intelligence and Security Services destroyed the Sudanese Church of Christ building in the Ombada area of Omdurman, across the River Nile from Khartoum, they said.

“The government has confiscated the land where the church was built – please pray for the church to get a place for worship,” a Christian who requested anonymity for security reasons said. “We had not any prior indication from the officials that the church would be destroyed; they have not even warned us.”

Officials gave no reason for the demolition except that, as it was located in a “Muslim area,” the 300-member church was not wanted there, the church member said. Another source, a church leader, confirmed to Morning Star News that authorities destroyed the building and confiscated the land without warning.

“We have orders from above to demolish this church building,” the police officer in charge of the demolition told the church member, sources said. “We do not want any church in this area.”

The orders came from the Ombada locality, or city council, the sources said.

Following the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, Sudan since 2012 has expelled foreign Christians and bulldozed church buildings on the pretext that they belonged to South Sudanese, but officials did not offer that basis in this case.

“Generally, the church is not wanted in the area,” the church member said.

Leaders of the church have yet to determine a site for worship this Sunday.

“Possibly the church will meet in a house of one of their members next week,” the source said.

Harassment, arrests and persecution of Christians have intensified since the secession of South Sudan, when Bashir vowed to adopt a stricter version of sharia (Islamic law) and recognize only Islamic culture and the Arabic language.

Besides raiding Christian bookstores and arresting Christians, authorities threatened to kill South Sudanese Christians who do not leave or cooperate with them in their effort to find other Christians (see Morning Star News, July 12, 2013).

South Sudan’s secession has also served as a pretext for Bashir’s regime to deport Christians based on their ethnicity, sources said. In a report issued in April 2013, Christian Solidarity Worldwide noted an increase in arrests, detentions and deportations of Christians since December 2012. The organization also reported that systematic targeting of Nuba and other ethnic groups suggests the resurgence of an official policy of “Islamization and Arabization.”

Due to its treatment of Christians and other human rights violations, Sudan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the U.S. State Department since 1999, and in April 2013, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended the country remain on the list.

USCIRF noted the crackdown in a statement last year.

“With the independence of South Sudan, senior Sudanese government officials have called for a more comprehensive and rigid application of Sharia law in Sudan, where southerners who are Christian have been subject to a range of religious freedom violations,” USCIRF stated. “In particular, there have been credible reports of the destruction of churches, refusal to permit construction of new churches and other forms of intimidation and harassment.”

South Sudanese lost citizenship in Sudan and were ordered to leave by March 1, 2012, but thousands have been stranded in the north due to job loss, poverty, transportation limitations and ethnic and tribal conflict in South Sudan. South Sudanese Christians in Sudan have faced increased hostilities due to their ethnic origins – though thousands have little or no ties to South Sudan – as well as their faith.

Many foreign Christians have been expelled from the country, and others have fled.


Morningstar News
written by Staff
Thursday February 13, 2014

The Sudanese Air Force bombed more civilians in South Kordofan state this week, killing a Christian man and injuring a 13-year-old girl, an area source said.

As part of what area Christians believe is President Omar al-Bashir’s [He is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. (emphasis mine)] campaign to rid the country of Christianity and the ethnic Nuba people, a government jet on Monday (Feb. 10) dropped three bombs on Damardago village, killing a Christian identified only as 30-year-old Timotuos, the source said.

Timotuos was a member of the Sudanese Church of Christ, as are two others who sustained burns and other injuries in the bombing, 13-year-old Zaienab Jebril Turomba and 27-year-old Salim Kuku, according to the source, who requested anonymity. There is no military installation near the area, but Sudan has been bombing civilian populations it believes support the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) since 2011.

Sudan has ramped up bombings in the past few months; the 93 bombs dropped on civilian areas in December was more than the those of October and November combined, according to online news portal Nuba Reports. In January Sudan dropped at least 120 bombs on civilian populations, according to Nuba Reports, run by aid worker Ryan Boyette, who remained in South Kordofan after his Christian humanitarian organization was forced to evacuate when military conflict escalated in 2011.

The December spike in bombings came as civil war broke out in South Sudan, driving people in South Sudan refugee camps to return to Sudan.

“The ongoing violence threatens to permanently strand the displaced peoples between two civil wars,” according to Nuba Reports.

Many of the bombs have hit Buram County, which includes the road to South Sudan’s Yida refugee camp, the news site notes.

On Jan. 27, bombing of Gendolo village in the Yabus area of Blue Nile state killed a Christian girl, 11-year-old Turki John Adam, and seriously injured her mother, Mamata Yama Bolu, according to ReliefWeb, a service of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Sudan’s new Sukhoi-24 fighter jets, supplied by Belarus, are able to drop parachute bombs with more accuracy than standard bombs, according to Nuba Reports.

On Monday (Feb. 10) Sudan dropped a total of nine bombs in the Dar area of Buram County, South Kordofan, where there are no military installations. On Sunday (Feb. 9), worship services were disrupted in Heiban, in South Kordofan, when a Russian-made Antonov plane dropped six bombs that hit houses on the edge of town; the homes had already been deserted, the source told Morning Star News.

“The situation in the Nuba Mountains is very bad,” he said.

On Saturday (Feb. 8), Sudan dropped six bombs on the predominantly Christian area of Aberi in Dalami County, South Kordofan, at 11:30 a.m., the source said. Previously bombs have targeted markets and homes, but this time the bombs hit fields and houses, the source said, without reports of casualties.

A bomb attack on Nov. 17 killed two children in south Kordofan. On March 19, 2013, two civilians were killed and 12 seriously wounded when government planes dropped bombs on them (see Morning Star News, March 27).

Since April 2012 Sudan has dropped 1,491 bombs on civilians, according Nuba Reports. Since South Sudan split from Sudan in a 2011 referendum, Nuba people in Sudan’s South Kordofan state believe the government’s goal of quashing rebels is also meant to rid the area of non-Arabs and Christianity. Bashir has said post-secession Sudan will adhere more exclusively to Islam and Arabic culture.

Thousands of civilians have taken refuge in Nuba Mountain caves in South Kordofan, which borders South Sudan. The Nuba people have longstanding complaints against Khartoum – including neglect, oppression and forced conversions to Islam in a 1990s jihad – but as Sudanese citizens on the northern side of the border, they were never given the option of secession in the 2005 peace pact between northern and southern Sudan.

The rebels in the Nuba Mountains were formerly involved with the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) forces fighting Khartoum before the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The growing rebel movement in the Nuba Mountains has sparked tensions, and Sudan reportedly bombed civilians in the South Sudan state of North Bahr El Ghazal on Nov. 20-22, 2012, killing seven.

Fighting between Sudan and South Sudan broke out in June 2011, when Khartoum forcefully attempted to disarm the SPLA-N in South Kordofan by force rather than awaiting a process of disarmament as called for in the CPA. When the CPA was signed in 2005, the people of South Kordofan were to vote on whether to join the north or the south, but the state governor suspended the process.

In a non-binding referendum in late October 2013, 99.9 percent of the people of the Abyei Area in South Kordofan voted to become part of South Sudan.

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