(CNN) — A Sudanese government force destroyed a church Monday, ignoring the wails of nearby residents, witnesses told journalists working for CNN.
The attack came a day after authorities sent a letter saying they would demolish the church, priest Kuoa Shimal said.
Government sources did not immediately return calls from CNN.
Complaints about the predominantly Muslim country’s lack of religious freedom came under the international spotlight recently after Mariam Yehya Ibrahim,
a Christian mother of two, refused to renounce her faith and was sentenced to death. After an international outcry, she was freed and reunited with her American husband.
The 70-strong force Monday arrived at the Alizba slums near the capital, Khartoum, around 10 a.m., witnesses said. Some were dressed in plain clothes.
CNN visited the scene afterward, where the religious site was reduced to rubble.
In April 2013, the Sudanese minister of religious affairs announced that no licenses would be granted to allow for the building of new churches — less than two years after the predominantly Christian South Sudan seceded to form an independent country.
During a brief territorial war between Sudan and South Sudan in April 2012, a mob of Islamist extremists attacked and destroyed a church west of Khartoum despite a police cordon around it.
The threat of violence has caused Sudan’s churches to empty. At a recent Sunday service, worshipers asked CNN not to identify them by name.
“The church is now contaminated with terror. You don’t feel safe in prayer,” one Christian activist said.
Children starving in Gireida camps, South Darfur
(Radio Dabanga) – The number of child deaths as a result of diarrhoea, malnutrition, and a lack of health care, is increasing alarmingly in the Gireida camps in South Darfur.“More and more children are dying lately of diarrhoea and hunger in the five camps for the displaced in Gireida locality’, a resident of Abdos camp reported to Radio Dabanga. “Each of the three health centres available for the 127,000 people living in the five camps daily receives between 50 to 70 patients, while the medical staff can see only 30 patients a day.”She attributed the high mortality rate among the children to the stoppage of food rations, owing to the expulsion of aid organisations from Darfur, as well as to the reduction of the amount of therapeutic food mixture to half a malwa (3,15 kg) a month.
Read more: https://www.radiodabanga.org/node/76039
Sudan’s Christian convert woman faces new lawsuit
(Reuters) – A Sudanese woman spared a death sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity faces a new lawsuit on Thursday brought by her family to formally establish her as a Muslim, a lawyer said, in a move that could delay her departure for the United States. Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, was briefly detained last week, a day after an appeals court overturned a death sentence imposed on her for changing her faith and marrying a Christian South Sudanese-American. The government accused her of attempting to leave the country with falsified travel documents issued from the South Sudanese embassy. Despite lifting the death penalty, Sudan refuses to acknowledge Ibrahim’s new identity as a South-Sudanese Christian.