PPF received the following information from a ministry partner in North Sudan. The name of the individual and his/her organization has been withheld to protect their identity. Below we have posted the e-mail in its entirety as it was written.
What had happened this week for the church in Sudan has shaken us as church community in the Sudan. Some of the information in the media were not correct as it was reported to be Anglican church or Catholic Church in Khartoum, but the correct information is a very old Bible School in Gerief West in Khartoum belonging to Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church. Within the Bible School Compound, there is a Church and a number of housing for students.
This was not the first incident, St. John Parish Church in Haj-Yousif, Episcopal Church of the Sudan received a warning letter giving 72 hours for church leadership to demolish the church or else legal and any other means will be used to demolish this building as it is in a illegal plot of land and also South Sudanese have gone to South Sudan. The leaders of the Church wrote the Ministry concern to intervene. The church is still standing after more than 72 hours, but nobody knows how long will it stand?!
Brief history on recent incident of Presbyterian Evangelical Church:
On Friday the 20th April: Imams were heard from two nearby Mosques saying they are informing all the people in the area to mobilize themselves to take over the Church because that the land belong to them. The relevant authorities were informed. The Police were brought in to guard the place.
On Saturday 21st: Around 2pm the group of people as many as over 500 came into the Bible School and began to destroy the buildings, burning down books including Bibles and uprooting trees! The most amazing thing was that the policemen were around but did nothing to prevent this happening!
On Sunday 22: Christians gathered in the compound to pray and to encourage one another over the incident. All the Christian denominations attended the prayer [as well as] Muslims, political parties, women groups, and the neighbors. All the speakers condemned the incident that this is not Sudanese behavior nor is it Islamic behavior. Some of the Muslims apologized on behalf of the other Muslims because this evil act was done in the name of Islam which does not represent the spirit of true Islam.
Representative of the government said that this behavior is not acceptable because no civilized person could do such barbaric act. He promised that the ministry will investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, the members of the Church have had a meeting with the Commissioner of the area in his office who had the time had not yet visited the vandalized Church and the School, promised that he was going to form an investigation Committee to deal with the matter, that anyone who is found to have been involved, will be brought justice, that he was going to come to see the place with his own yeas, that all the cost of the church and the school will be paid for by the government and that the police will be responsible in guarding the area until the matter is resolved fully.
Monday 23rd: Heads of Churches in Sudan… to strategize how they would handle this tragic situation of the church in the Sudan. They agreed that they must come out with a clear statement on the issue and hold a press conference to inform the public and the world of what the church in Sudan is facing. In this meeting Dr. Faroug al Bushra, Secretary General of Sudan Inter Religious Council joined the meeting and he offered sympathy to the Church and SCC over what had happened and again, he said that this act does not reflect the spirit of true Islam.
While the meeting was going on we received a phone call from SCC Nyala in Darfur that the security has taken over the premises of SCC and Sudan Aid in Nyala. That they came in the morning as usual but found that the place was occupied by others and were told to hand over the keys of all the vehicles and motor bikes. 5 vehicles and 3 bikes were removed from the compound of SCC office Nyala. Offices of Sudan Aid and SCC Nyala are closed by Security.
Having formed a drafting committee for SCC Statement, we then moved to the Ministry of Religious Guidance and Endowments were meeting was going on over the issue with members of Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church. The meeting was being chaired by the State Minister. The Minister having listened to full story of what had happened. The Minister expressed his sadness and grieve of what took place for the Church and its property and that such evil things can be done in the name of Islam. He assured that church leaders that his Ministry will do all it can to see that justice is done to the church and that those responsible will be brought to justice.
He formed a committee consisting of members from both the Ministry and the Church to handle the issue.
The church on her part has open legal cases against those who destroyed and burned down the church. It has been estimated SDG 5,000,000 value of property which got destroyed and it be more than this.
I would like to thank many of you, friends around the world who have been praying for the church in Sudan. We very appreciate these efforts. It seems that there is a plan to stop the work of the Church or threaten Church leaders in Sudan to stop preaching after the independence of Sudan. What I know, the church will remain and will continue to operate though there will continue to be challenges on the way. The history tells us so. It happened in the past, but the church continued to this day.
However, sometime we feel have been forgotten even by our close friends. Because it seems no one cares about us here in Sudan after independence of South Sudan. Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile areas people are in a terrible situation and it seems no one cares. We are called insects!
I believe that the good Lord will protect the church in Sudan and whatever happens, there will be way out.