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Former Muslim from Sudan Forced into Hiding

An ethnic Messiria (Misseriya Arab) elder at meeting on status of Abyei administrative area. (Wikipedia, Sudan Envoy)

Sudan (Morning Star News) – It was more than a year ago that Muslims in the disputed area between Sudan and South Sudan noticed that Ahmed Alnour was no longer reciting his Islamic prayers five times a day.

The tribesman of the ethnic Misseriya Arabs was helping support his wife and seven children in Sudan working as a scrap trader at the Ameth common market in Abyei, a 4,072-square mile special administrative area on the border formed from the peace agreement that ended civil war in Sudan in 2005.

Alnour would soon have to leave that work, forced to flee when area Muslims confirmed that he had become a Christian.

“I saw them and heard them saying, ‘We will kill you because you left Islam and became infidel,’” he said of their attempt to burn down his home the afternoon of April 1, 2019.

Neighbors were able to douse the flames and he escaped unharmed, but on April 8 the assailants returned at 1 a.m. as he slept. He awoke to find his house in flames.

Alnour told Morning Star News that before Christians arrived to rescue him, he heard one of the assailants say in Arabic, “Let us throw him back in the fire, since he has abandoned Islam.”

The Christians took him to a hospital for treatment the following morning. He had lost all his possessions in the fire, including 600,000 South Sudanese pounds equivalent to US$6,000, but he had not lost his faith in Christ, he said.

The 43-year-old father of seven children ages 4 to 24 had put his faith in Christ just a few months prior. Paralyzed from an illness for three months in Agok, Abyei area, he received a visit from two evangelists who prayed for him and told him of salvation in Christ.

Alnour said he felt a conviction in his heart, and that after placing his trust in Christ he was healed.

“I was able to get up and walk after three months of sickness,” he said.

He was baptized at a church last Christmas. In hiding since the attacks last year, he has obtained a job and temporary quarters from church friends at an undisclosed village in the Abyei area.

Risks are growing as Muslims are looking for him, he said. Fear of Muslims’ reactions in Sudan and lack of economic opportunity keep him from going home to his family, but someday he hopes to be able to return and tell them about Christ, he said.

“I want to tell my family about my new faith in Jesus, and I am sure they will believe with me,” Alnour said.

In light of advances in religious freedom since Omar al-Bashir was ousted as president of Sudan in April 2019, the U.S. State Department announced on Dec. 20 that Sudan had been removed from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) that engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom” and was upgraded to a watch list.

Sudan had been designated a CPC by the U.S. State Department since 1999.

Following the secession of South Sudan in 2011, Bashir had vowed to adopt a stricter version of sharia (Islamic law) and recognize only Islamic culture and the Arabic language. Church leaders said Sudanese authorities demolished or confiscated churches and limited Christian literature on the pretext that most Christians have left the country following South Sudan’s secession.

In April 2013 the then-Sudanese Minister of Guidance and Endowments announced that no new licenses would be granted for building new churches in Sudan, citing a decrease in the South Sudanese population. Sudan since 2012 has expelled foreign Christians and bulldozed church buildings. Besides raiding Christian bookstores and arresting Christians, authorities threatened to kill South Sudanese Christians who did not leave or cooperate with them in their effort to find other Christians.

After Bashir was deposed, military leaders initially formed a military council to rule the country, but further demonstrations led them to accept a transitional government of civilians and military figures, with a predominantly civilian government to be democratically elected in three years. Christians were expected to have greater voice under the new administration.

The new government that was sworn in on Sept. 8, 2019 led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, an economist, is tasked with governing during a transition period of 39 months. It faces the challenges of rooting out longstanding corruption and an Islamist “deep state” rooted in Bashir’s 30 years of power.

Sudan ranked 7th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

Ten killed as Christian college attacked in South Sudan

Residential accommodation at the Emmanuel Christian College training centre in Goli, South Sudan. (Photo: Open Doors International, 2009)

At least ten people, including five children, have been killed in an attack on a college in South Sudan teaching Theology, Education and Business, according to the Christian charity Open Doors International.

Three guards and five students – one secondary and four primary school pupils – were among the victims of the 14 May attack on the Emmanuel Christian College (ECC) in Goli, in Yei county. A displaced father and son, who had taken refuge there after fleeing Mundri, were also killed.

The attackers also raped the 14-year-old daughter of a staff member, Open Doors reported, and vandalised and looted college offices, single-staff houses, classrooms and the library.

Witnesses reportedly told Open Doors the attackers were from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the main force which formerly fought Africa’s longest-running civil war for independence from Sudan in the north.

After peace was agreed between north and south Sudan in January 2005, the SPLA’s political arm, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), in turn formed a government under President Salva Kiir, and his deputy, Riek Machar. However a political feud between the two men then degenerated into political and ethnic rivalries: Kiir is a Dinka and Machar is a Nuer.

It is not clear why government-backed forces might have attacked the college.

The ECC management, which stresses the inter-tribal, inter-ethnic nature of its college, has reported the incident to state authorities and is working with them on next steps, Open Doors said.

ECC is a training institution that was set up by Open Doors in partnership with the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church in 2001.

Since predominantly Christian South Sudan gained its independence from the Islamic Republic of Sudan in the north in 2011, Open Doors has been gradually withdrawing from the world’s newest country, and had handed over ownership of ECC to the local Church.

“We extend our condolences to all affected by the loss of life and our sincerest empathy to those affected by rape, witnessing of violence and looting,” Open Doors’ Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, JP Pretorius, said. “We call on the international Christian community to rally in prayer around staff at the ECC and the Church in South Sudan. We also call on the international community to do whatever it can to help bring an end to the hostilities in South Sudan and on the South Sudan government to take swift action to bring the perpetrators to book.”

Background

Since its independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan has been mired in conflict. More than 2 million people were displaced during two years of civil war, primarily between the Kiir and Machar factions, which officially ended in 2015.

Although the warring factions signed a peace deal, the fighting continued. In 2016 a UN commission on human rights warned of “ethnic cleansing” taking place in the country and in 2017 a famine was declared in parts of South Sudan.

Insecurity in the area had on several occasions interrupted activities at ECC, Open Doors said, and while most key staff members remained on the premises, theological and other training had been moved to Yei. (World Watch Monitor)

Video Released from Libya of Beheading of Christian from South Sudan

Screenshot from video showing beheading. (YouTube)

Screenshot from video showing beheading. (YouTube)

South Sudan (Morning Star News) – A group claiming affiliation with the Islamic State (IS) announced the beheading of a Christian from South Sudan in a video posted on Sunday (Oct. 18).

A masked man who carries out the killing in the video, presumably in Libya, states that he is defending Muslim brothers he claims were persecuted by South Sudan. The world’s youngest nation seceded from Sudan in 2011 and is embroiled in an ethnic civil war, but there is no record of any Muslims dying at the hands of Christians there.

In the video, which a group calling itself the Islamic State in Cyrenaica (eastern coastal Libya) released, the victim is identified in an inaudible voice, possibly as Kual Gai Wek, a native of South Sudan who has been living in Libya since 1989. His name does not appear to be Mohamed Al-Ghaid, as reported elsewhere.

The video also shows an enemy soldier, said to be Faraj Al-Saiti, being shot to death in the same area as the beheading. The identity of the South Sudanese Christian has not been verified, and it is unclear when the executions took place.

The IS figure accuses South Sudan of mistreating Muslims despite an interim constitution that defines the country as a secular state.

“Oh Christians in South Sudan, know that as you kill you will be killed, and as you displace our brothers we will do the same,” the masked man says. “No safety or shelter for you except that of the Islamic State … We will fight all of you as you fight us.”

The victim is then forced down to his knees and beheaded.

Christians in South Sudan expressed their condolences and asked God to forgive the killers.

IS was shown executing Christians in Libya on two occasions earlier this year. In a video released April 19, IS is seen executing 28 Ethiopian Christians. The Christians were divided into two groups of men being marched to their place of execution with their arms bound behind their backs. One group is held at a coastal area identified as “Wilayat Barqa” (Barqa State) in Libya, and the other is located inland in the desert scrub brush of “Wilayat Fazzan” (Fazzan State), also in Libya.

The men in the desert are shot in the back of their heads. The video switches to the seaside, where the men are beheaded.

In February, IS released a video of the execution of 21 Christians, all but one of them Egyptian. The Ethiopians and the Egyptians who were executed on the beach appear to be executed in the same general area.

IS late last month killed three Assyrian Christians, presumably in Syria, according to an execution video released Oct. 7. In the video, the group threatened to kill some 200 other Christians in Syria unless it receives a ransom of $50,000 each for their release.

The videoed execution is thought to have taken place on Sept. 23, during the Muslim holiday of “Festival of the Sacrifice,” according to Arabic-language news media.

South Sudan Pastors Accused of Spying Freed! #SaveSudanPastors

Rev. Yat Michael and the Rev. Peter Yein Reith,

Rev. Yat Michael and the Rev. Peter Yein Reith,

(World Watch monitor) Two South Sudanese pastors on trial in Sudan for, amongst other things, “spying” have been freed by the Judge of Khartoum North Central Court, Ahmed Ghaboush. Had they been found guilty of this, they could have faced the death penalty.

Yat Michael had taken his child to Khartoum for medical treatment when he was arrested on 14 December, 2014, after being asked to preach at a local church during his stay. Peter Yen was arrested in January 2015 when he went to enquire about Michael’s whereabouts. The two men were then reported as missing until Sudanese authorities revealed that they were being held in prison for “crimes against the state”.

Guilty on some accounts, but freed due to time served

The DPA German news agency reported that the judge found Yat Michael guilty of a “breach of the peace” (Article 69) and Peter Yen (also known as David Reith) guilty of  “managing a criminal or terrorist organisation” (Article 65). But he ordered both be released, as they had already served the sentences for these offences through their eight-month stay in prison.

Experts said there were fears that they would have been convicted of  the more serious charges; it was felt the judge was under pressure to balance local expectations on him to uphold the principles of the Sharia-governed state, with adherence to international human rights standards.

The families told Radio Tamazuj, an online independent news service broadcast in Sudan and South Sudan, that they were “delighted”.

The last time the men were in court was 23 July, when their legal team submitted their written closing arguments.

Observers from a number of foreign embassies were present that day. An official from the Sudanese Ministry of Justice told one of the pastors’ lawyers that the extent of outside interest had led the government to take a very close interest in the case.

Thabith Al Zubir, one of the lawyers defending the pastors, asked the judge on 23 July to drop the case because the defence had refuted all the accusations levelled against the two men, and because there was no clear evidence against them.

Arrested ‘illegally’

The defence lawyers had also argued that their clients were arrested illegally by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).

They said Pastor Yat Michael did not violate Sudan’s law when he preached in Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church on 14 December, because he was just carrying out his duty as a pastor. “To urge believers to be zealous for their church is not an insult against God,” one lawyer said, referring to NISS arresting Yat Michael after his sermon in the church in the Bahri area, just north of the Sudanese capital.

“Justice requires that you don’t judge simply because you [suspect], without any concrete evidence,” the lawyer said.

In addition, the lawyers raised concern over the fact that Yat Michael and Peter Yen were being tried illegally for insulting religion.

They also said that the pastors were illegally detained for a long period of time without trial: “This is illegal and against the bill of rights in Sudan’s constitution.”

Lawyer Al Zubir had called on the court to respect Sudan’s constitution above the powers of the National Intelligence and Security Service to arrest and detain any person for a long period of time without trial.

The lawyers concluded that the court should accept their defence, and drop the charges for lack of evidence: “These charges are built on sand,” they concluded.

“The charges included: complicity in committing crimes with other bodies (Article 21), spying for outsiders (Article 53), and collecting and leaking information to the detriment of Sudanese national security (Article 55).

The charge of undermining the constitutional system (Article 50) has been “dropped”, reported Radio Tamazuj after the 23 July hearing.

Other charges included promoting hatred amongst sects (Article 64); breach of public peace (Article 69); and offences relating to insulting religious beliefs (Article 125). Article 53 carries the death penalty or life imprisonment.

Defence witnesses testify evidence against the men could have been ‘planted’

At a previous hearing on 14 July, the pastors had stated that some of the “incriminating” documents allegedly found on their computers were not theirs. These included internal church reports, maps showing the population and topography of Khartoum, Christian literature, and a study guide on Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).

The pastors acknowledged having the internal church report, though both said they had never seen the study guide on NISS until it was presented in court. They said they had no knowledge of how it got on the computer.

The defence team called two witnesses.

One, ex-army general and 2010 presidential candidate Abdul Aziz Khalid, testified that the maps presented by the prosecution were available to civilians and not classified; therefore the espionage charge against the pastors was without basis.

The other witness was an IT expert, who testified how easy it would have been for others to plant documents on the men’s computers without their knowledge.

The pastors had again been denied access to their legal team ahead of the 14 July hearing, despite an earlier direction that they be allowed 15 minutes with their lawyers.

(At the previous hearing on 2 July, the judge had permitted the defence team only 15 minutes with the pastors in order to prepare their case).

The pastors have also had little access to their families, who were only permitted to visit them in the high-security Kober Prison after they had been held for six months.

Defence lawyer himself arrested day before he was due in court, with church pastor 

On 1 July, Mohaned Mustafa – one of the lawyers representing Michael and Yen, together with the Evangelical Bahri Church pastor Hafez – was briefly detained when challenging a government employee who was overseeing the destruction of parts of the Bahri evangelical church complex.

The employee was attempting to destroy a part of the complex that was not within the government order for destruction. It is still not known when the case against the two lawyers will be brought to court.

This is not the first time the Sudanese government has attempted to clamp down on the Evangelical Church of Khartoum.

On December 2, 2014, the church was raided by handfuls of police officers, who arrived in six patrol cars. They beat a number of peaceful sit-in demonstrators with pipes and water sticks and arrested 38 eight members of the church.

After the raid, 20 of the people arrested were sentenced to a fine of 250 Sudanese pounds (roughly $40) after being convicted without legal representation under Articles 65 (criminal and terrorist organisations) and 69 (disturbance of public peace) of the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code.

The charges were dropped against the remaining 18 individuals.

The sit-in demonstrations were prompted by a corruption scandal, including the sale of church land to investors.

In 2010, the Evangelical Church of Khartoum in Bahri elected a Community Council to control the administration, assets, and investments of the church. The Community Council was plagued by accusations of corruption. The church attempted to resolve the conflict with the church’s General Assembly electing a new Community Council. But the previous Council refused to recognise the new Council and hand over institutional documents.

The government of Sudan intervened on 28 April, 2014 and re-appointed several members of the old Community Council.

Despite not having an official mandate to sell church properties or engage in investment on behalf of the church, these members sold a substantial amount of property.

Yat Michael was arrested after preaching at this church two weeks after the police raid and partial demolition of the church.

During his sermon, he condemned the controversial sale of the church land and property, and the treatment of Christians in Sudan.

The arrest, incarceration and extended trial of Michael and Yen illustrates the pressure Christians face in the Muslim-dominated region.

Praise God these pastors have been released! Thank you to all of you who PRAYED, spoke out, shared their story and signed the petitions. God bless you!

No New Evidence against Two South Sudanese Pastors in Sudan, Relatives Say

Rev. Yat Michael and the Rev. Peter Yein Reith,

Rev. Yat Michael and the Rev. Peter Yein Reith,

South Sudan (Morning Star News) – Prosecutors produced no new evidence today in the trial of two South Sudanese pastors facing the death penalty on charges of undermining the Sudanese constitution, sources said.

At a hearing in Khartoum in the trial of the Rev. Yat Michael and the Rev. Peter Yein Reith, the same two officials of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) who testified previously offered the same weak evidence as before, a relative in the courtroom told Morning Star News.

A defense attorney asked the NISS officials to produce evidence for the charges, including spying (Article 53) – which along with “undermining the constitution” is punishable by death or life imprisonment – and waging war against the state (Article 51), which calls for the death penalty.

“When the two witnesses were asked by the defense attorney, they could not answer the question,” the relative said.

The pastors are also charged with disclosure and receipt of official information or documents (Article 55); arousing feelings of discontent among regular forces (Article 62); breach of public peace (Article 69); and offences relating to insulting religious beliefs (Article125).

A NISS official previously testified that the pastors were collecting information for a human rights group.

The court heard the defense’s presentation as well as the case for the prosecution at today’s hearing, relatives said, but did not issue a ruling. The attorney defending the two pastors said the trial was going well. The next hearing is scheduled for Thursday (June 18).

Michael, 49, was arrested on Dec. 21, 2014 after speaking at the church service in Khartoum, and the 36-year-old Reith was arrested on Jan. 11 after submitting a letter from leaders of their denomination, the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SSPEC), inquiring about the whereabouts of Michael.

On June 4 the two pastors were transferred from a low-security prison in Omdurman to the high-security Kober Prison in Khartoum North and are being held in separate cells. Relatives said the church leaders were in chains as they were brought to their respective cells.

“We have been denied visits to our husbands since we last saw them on June 3,” the wife of one of the pastors told Morning Star News.

Prison administrators told family members the church leaders were transferred to the high-security prison, and that relatives were forbidden to visit them, because of actions – possibly taking photos – by some foreigners who had visited them.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported that the defense attorneys have also been denied access to the pastors since the transfer to the high-security prison.

NISS has assigned them to separate cells to put more psychological pressure on them in the face of the widespread attention their case has garnered from the international community, media and right groups, sources said.

“I am asking for your prayers,” said the wife of one of the pastors. Another relative lamented, “This is more clear persecution of them. Please let’s keep praying for God help to our brothers in chains.”

NISS is manned by hard-line Islamists who are given broad powers to arrest Christians, black Africans, South Sudanese and other people lowly regarded in the country that President Omar al-Bashir has pledged will be fully Arabic and Islamic. The charges appear to be based solely on the two pastors’ nationality, race and faith, sources said.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2010 charged Bashir with genocide and crimes against humanity in relation to conflict in Darfur, and today he avoided arrest over the war crime charges after South Africa let him return to Khartoum in spite of an order for his arrest, according to the BBC.

After Bashir was allowed to leave Johannesburg, where he was attending an African Union (AU) summit, an ICC official called South Africa’s failure to detain Bashir “disappointing,” the BBC reported. The Pretoria High Court issued an order for his arrest after his airplane had taken flight.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said countries who have signed onto the ICC’s statutes, such as South Africa, must implement the warrant for Bashir’s arrest, according to the BBC.

Sudan fought a civil war with the south Sudanese from 1983 to 2005, and in June 2011, shortly before the secession of South Sudan the following month, the government began fighting a rebel group in the Nuba Mountains that has its roots in South Sudan.

The Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church that Michael had encouraged in December was the subject of government harassment, arrests and demolition of part of its worship center as Muslim investors took it over. NISS officials appear to be determined to punish the pastors for their support of the embattled congregation, sources said.

Other Christians in the Bahri congregation have also been arrested. Police in North Khartoum on Dec. 2 beat and arrested 38 Christians from the church that Michael encouraged and fined most of them. They were released later that night.

On Oct. 5, 2013, Sudan’s police and security forces broke through the church fence, beat and arrested Christians in the compound and asserted parts of the property belonged to a Muslim investor accompanying them. As Muslims nearby shouted, “Allahu Akbar [God is greater],” plainclothes police and personnel from NISS broke onto the property aboard a truck and two Land Cruisers. After beating several Christians who were in the compound, they arrested some of them; they were all released later that day.

Harassment, arrests and persecution of Christians have intensified since the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, when Bashir vowed to adopt a stricter version of sharia (Islamic law) and recognize only Islamic culture and the Arabic language. The Sudanese Minister of Guidance and Endowments announced in April 2013 that no new licenses would be granted for building new churches in Sudan, citing a decrease in the South Sudanese population.

Sudan since 2012 has expelled foreign Christians and bulldozed church buildings on the pretext that they belonged to South Sudanese. 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).

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 the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended the country remain on the list in its 2015 report.

Sudan ranked sixth on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians face most persecution, moving up from 11th place the previous year.

Pastor in South Sudan Jailed, Lashed after Radical Muslims Threaten Him

sudan

South Sudan (Morning Star News) – A Sudanese pastor in South Sudan was jailed and tortured for more than three months after Islamists who tried to kill him accused him of being a spy, sources said.

Adam Haron, a 37-year-old convert from Islam and a native of West Darfur, Sudan, said Muslim extremists called him on Nov. 9 and 10 threatening to kill him if he continued to proclaim Christ among Muslims in Aweil, near the Sudanese border. Pastor of a church in an undisclosed area of South Sudan, Haron had gone to Aweil, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) northwest of the capital city of Juba, to plant a church.

Evangelism is not illegal in South Sudan, where Christians outnumber Muslims, and the Transitional Constitution following the country’s secession from Sudan in 2011 guarantees religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith.

Haron said he knew the Muslims who threatened him as they were from his home region of West Dafur. The following day they tried to kill him when a Land Cruiser with no license plate nearly ran him over, he said.

Haron, who came to South Sudan in 2010 after converting to Christianity in 2005, said that three days later six armed men, including three in military uniform, entered his hotel room in Aweil and started to search his personal bag and laptop and scattered his clothes around. They also took his cell phone.

As the armed men ordered him to get into their car, they began kicking his legs and groin, he said.

“Thank God, who protected me from serious injury from them,” he said.

One of assailants took out a pistol, pointed it at Haron’s head, and asked him if he was a Christian pastor. He answered, “Yes, I am a pastor,” and they took him to a detention center in Aweil, he said.

Haron said the three men in uniform were military intelligence personnel. Based on a military officer’s interrogation of him, he concluded that the radical Muslims had the military personnel arrest him after falsely accusing him of being a spy for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s National Congress Party.

On Nov. 15, two soldiers gave him 364 lashes using a tree branch as a whip, he said.

“We will beat you every Saturday in this way,” one of them told him during the lashing.

Haron told Morning Star News he was encouraged because he was considered worthy to suffer for his faith and replied, “I am ready to die for the sake of the gospel.”

They threw him into a narrow cell, his legs bound with chains, he said. On Jan. 3 he was transferred to another jail cell. He was released on Feb. 18.

In the course of his incarceration, those who arrested Haron stole 2,600 South Sudanese Pounds (US$820) from him, he said.

Haron, who pastors an underground church made up primarily of converts from Islam, said he was gratified that the mistreatment tested his faith.

“This detention has been a great encouragement to my spiritual life,” he said.

Pastors Held in Sudan

In the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, two pastors of South Sudanese descent continue to languish in prison following their arrests in December and January.

Officials from Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) are demanding that theRev. Peter Yein Reith and the Rev. Yat Michael pay $12,000, but even that may not guarantee their release, sources said.

Reith, from Khartoum but of South Sudanese descent, was arrested on Jan. 9 and is being held without charges. NISS officials arrested Michael, a visiting South Sudanese pastor from Juba, after Sunday worship at Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church on Dec. 21. He also has been held without charges.

Nuba Mountain Bombing

Bashir’s regime, meantime, continues to bomb civilian targets in its war with rebels in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan state.

On March 11 at 2 p.m., Russian-made Sukhoi jets bombed Tanase village, Bram County, wounding a 15-year-old girl, an area source told Morning Star News. Saloom Habil Tiya of the Sudanese Church of Christ was walking near her home when the bomb landed a short distance away.

The source said the girl was seriously injured.

There is no military installation near the area, the source said.

“We hope the international community will pay attention to the crimes committed,” the source said.

Eyes On The Persecuted: A Prayer For Sudan

Sudan is once again in the news as South Sudan nears a March 5th deadline for peace talks. Since 2013 the UN estimates that 2.5 million people have been affected and are near a crises for famine. It has been said that numbers of those killed are not kept by the government, but an International Crises Group claims 50,000 have been murdered.  South Sudan’s population is reported by some as almost 50% Christian. In the north, an estimated 16% are Christians while Muslims make up 62% and those who practice traditional religions 22%. Pray for Sudan, pray for the Christians in North and South Sudan.

World Watch Monitor is reporting that fears are growing for 2 Pastors who have been arrested.

(World Watch Monitor) Fears are growing for the welfare of two South Sudanese church leaders who are being held in unknown locations by Sudan’s intelligence services.

Pastor Yat Michael and Pastor Peter Yen (also named as David Yein Reith in some reports) have now each been held for over a month after being arrested during visits to the country from their homes in South Sudan.

The two pastors are members of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, and both were arrested while visiting Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.

While South Sudan has a largely Christian population, Sudan is predominantly Muslim. However, many thousands of Southern Sudanese who fled the long civil war to live in the north are now so rooted there, they chose to remain. There are still churches in the north to meet their needs, although some have come under pressure in recent months.  “The longer these two men are held in a secret location, the greater the risk of them being tortured,” said Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen.  Sudan ranks sixth in the 2015 World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians face most persecution. Its almost two million Christians face strict laws imposed by an Islamic government, which has ruled that apostasy is still legally punishable by death. Sudanese who are seen as non-Arab are most vulnerable to being punished under the Apostasy law.  (Read the full report)

The report goes on to say that the Church in Sudan is growing despite persecution.  We see this over and over, that God is growing His church in the middle of persecution.  They desperately need our prayers.  Sudan is suffering, the Christians are suffering.  The innocent caught in this conflict are suffering.  Pray for peace.

Most will remember Meriam Ibrahim, a pregnant Sudanese Christian woman who was sentenced to death for her religious views, imprisoned in squalid conditions with her 2 yr. old son, and forced to give birth in a dangerous position while her legs were still chained. Her story was highlighted throughout the world bringing attention to the plight of Christians in Sudan. Many around the globe prayed and spoke out for her. She is now free and living in the U.S. Let us continue to lift our suffering brothers and sisters to the Lord.

Father we ask that you shed your mercy over Sudan and the whole of Africa. We ask that your love and light surround these precious people with protection and a peace that can only come from you above. Protect them Father, place a veil of protection around the innocents. Father we know that you provide our needs, we ask that the flow of aid be restored to this nation. We ask that you abundantly provide their needs, send caring hands to provide and comfort. Give a peace to the Nations of Africa. Father. Guide the leaders in talks for peace. Show the light of Christ to the lost. Father push back those who wish to disrupt and destroy, and provide a peaceful respite and solution. We ask this in Jesus Name.

Voice of the Persecuted

Sudanese mother is released and ‘will travel to the U.S.’ after being arrested for trying to flee country

ibrahim-558

Getty’s image

Latest update reports- After spending 48 hours in jail, it is now being reported that the Sudanese Christian woman, Meriam Ibrahim has been released, again.

Recently, a court overturned her death sentence for apostasy and had released her from a woman’s prison. Less than 24 hours later, Ibrahim was detained along with her Christian-American husband Daniel Wani and two young children at Khartoum airport in Sudan for trying to use documents issued by the South Sudanese embassy to flee the country. More than 40 armed men from the NISS stopped and detained Ibrahim for travelling on false documents, which can carry a seven-year sentence. Some claim she was also being banned from leaving Sudan. Her husband, Daniel Wani was being detained at the police station as an accessory.

Facts of her release have been hard to decipher as multiple media outlet reports appeared conflicting. One of her attorney’s confirmed she had been released from a police station, today in the capital Khartoum after pressure from foreign diplomats on the Sudanese government to set her free.

There were also claims that the US vice consul was with the family at the airport. The Sudanese Foreign Ministry summoned the American and South Sudanese ambassadors to explain themselves.

Dr Ibrahim had been granted emergency travel documents by the government of South Sudan to travel there and then on to the US.

Mr Shareif insisted that the documents were legitimate and that it was ‘not right’ to claim otherwise.

In a statement issued on its Facebook page, Sudan’s security service said earlier this week that passport police had “arrested” Mr Ibrahim after she presented “emergency travel documents issued by the South Sudanese embassy and carrying an American visa”.

“The Sudanese authorities considered this a criminal violation”, it said. source

Freed from her latest detention – Ibrahim may now come to the US. She is set to fly to South Sudan and from there on to America where she could start her a new life.

The US State Department is under pressure to do everything in its power to ensure her swift and safe passage after being criticized by Senators for its response.

We will continue to wait until Meriam is out of Sudan. Praying for this victory!

Thank you, Senator Roy Blunt!

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