Sudanese authorities on Monday demolished a church building in Omdurman without prior notice, according to Morning Star News*.
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, Sudan’s largest city which lies across the Nile from Khartoum.
The church was not a missionary church but an indigenous one, with congregants mainly from the Nuba Mountains. Sudanese Christians believe it is part of a campaign by President Omar Al Bashir to rid the country of Christianity.
“The government has confiscated the land where the church was built” one Christian 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.”
In a report issued in April 2013, Christian Solidarity Worldwide noted an increase in arrests, detentions and deportations of Christians by Sudan since December 2012. The organisation also reported that systematic targeting of Nuba and other ethnic groups suggests the resurgence of an official policy of “Islamisation and Arabisation.”
Due to its treatment of Christians and other human rights violations, Sudan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the US State Department since 1999, and in April 2013, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended the country remain on the list.
* Morning Star News is an independent news service focusing exclusively on persecution of Christians.
News picture above: Workers tear down church building in Omdurman, Sudan. (Morning Star News)
Police watch as Sudanese Church of Christ building in Omdurman is demolished. (Morning Star News)