Christian slain, another beaten unconscious in Sudan

By Morning Star News |
Among Christian sites that have been targeted was a SPEC church building on Nov. 1, 2023 in Omdurman, Sudan.
Among Christian sites that have been targeted was a SPEC church building on Nov. 1, 2023 in Omdurman, Sudan. | (Morning Star News)

Militants from the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) killed one Christian on Saturday (Jan. 20) and beat another unconscious on Monday (Jan. 22) in Omdurman, Sudan, sources said.

The RSF militants, which have been fighting the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) since April 15, shot dead Hidar Al Amin at his home in the Umbda area of Omdurman, across the Nile from Khartoum, a relative said.

The Muslim militants insulted Al Amin, a member of the Sudanese Presbyterian Evangelical Church in his 30s, for being a Christian, he said. They looted his property and left him in a pool of blood.

“He was killed by the RSF after they stole all that he had,” the relative said in a text message to Morning Star News.

On Monday (Jan. 22), RSF militants beat unconscious Al Thahir Kafi, a Christian merchant, before looting his home and shop in Omdurman, an area source said. Kafi is a well-known trader in the area now under RSF control.

Kafi’s Christian faith is also well-known in the area, and the militants who attacked him were Muslim extremists, the source said.

At least five church buildings have been set ablaze in Sudan since fighting broke out between the RSF and the SAF. In Al Jazirah state, which has been under RSF control since December, militants on Jan. 15 set a Greek Orthodox Church building on fire in Wad Medani, the state capital, an area pastor said.

The Greek Orthodox building is located next to an evangelical church building in the Hai Al Gism Al Aual area of the city, he said.

“The series of churches being set ablaze is ongoing in Wad Medani,” the pastor told Morning Star News.

Another Christian in Wad Medani, Karbino Bla, died on Jan. 5 from injuries sustained from an attack by RSF militants.

In Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Sudan was ranked No. 8, up from No. 10 the previous year, as attacks by non-state actors continued and religious freedom reforms at the national level were not enacted locally.

Sudan had dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in six years when it first ranked No. 13 in the 2021 World Watch List.

Fighting between the RSF and the SAF, which had shared military rule in Sudan following an October 2021 coup, has terrorized civilians in Khartoum and elsewhere, leaving more than 12,000 people dead and displacing an estimated 7.6 million others inside and outside the country.

Christian sites have been targeted since the conflict began.

The SAF’s Gen. Abdelfattah al-Burhan and his then-vice president, RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, were in power when civilian parties in March agreed on a framework to re-establish a democratic transition in April, but disagreements over military structure torpedoed final approval.

Burhan sought to place the RSF – a paramilitary outfit with roots in the Janjaweed militias that had helped former strongman Omar al-Bashir put down rebels – under the regular army’s control within two years, while Dagolo would accept integration within nothing fewer than 10 years. The conflict burst into military fighting on April 15.

Both military leaders have Islamist backgrounds while trying to portray themselves to the international community as pro-democracy advocates of religious freedom.

Following two years of advances in religious freedom in Sudan after the end of the Islamist dictatorship under Bashir in 2019, the specter of state-sponsored persecution returned with the military coup of Oct. 25, 2021.

After Bashir was ousted from 30 years of power in April 2019, the transitional civilian-military government had managed to undo some sharia (Islamic law) provisions. It outlawed the labeling of any religious group “infidels” and thus effectively rescinded apostasy laws that made leaving Islam punishable by death.

With the Oct. 25, 2021 coup, Christians in Sudan feared the return of the most repressive and harsh aspects of Islamic law. Abdalla Hamdok, who had led a transitional government as prime minister starting in September 2019, was detained under house arrest for nearly a month before he was released and reinstated in a tenuous power-sharing agreement in November 2021.

Hamdock had been faced with rooting out longstanding corruption and an Islamist “deep state” from Bashir’s regime – the same deep state that is suspected of rooting out the transitional government in the Oct. 25, 2021 coup.

The U.S. State Department in 2019 removed Sudan from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) that engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom” and upgraded it to a watch list. Sudan had previously been designated as a CPC from 1999 to 2018.

In December 2020, the State Department removed Sudan from its Special Watch List.

The Christian population of Sudan is estimated at 2 million, or 4.5 percent of the total population of more than 43 million.

© 2023 Morning Star News. Articles/photos may be reprinted with credit to Morning Star News. Morning Star News is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that relies solely on contributions to offer original news reports of persecuted Christians. By providing reliable news on the suffering church, Morning Star News’ mission is to empower those in the free world to help and to encourage persecuted Christians that they are not forgotten or alone.