In Omdurman, opposite Khartoum on the River Nile, plain-clothes police officials on June 25 raided the offices of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC) in what church leaders called a bid to take over the property.
Without permission from government authorities, the officers entered the church compound and chased SPEC pastors and others out of the offices, a Christian leader said. In apparent interference in church affairs, the officers said they had sided with some church officials in an administrative dispute and therefore were ordering church leaders to leave the premises or face arrest, said the Christian leader, who requested anonymity.
On 21 April, a 300-strong mob attacked a Presbyterian church compound in Khartoum’s Al-Jiraif District, torching parts of the premises, witnesses told IRIN.
As well as a church, the compound included a home for the elderly, a medical clinic, a bible school and priests’ living quarters. Most of the church’s congregation is made up of people with roots in South Sudan.
“They burned the bible and looted possessions and money,” said the church’s Father John Taw, adding that the attackers included women and children.
“During Friday prayers, the imam of the next door mosque, who is known for his extremism, incited people to destroy the church, saying the land it was on belonged to Muslims,” he said.
The priest said he believed the imam’s words were linked to a government deadline that all South Sudanese in Sudan – who number some 500,000 – should register as foreigners or head back to South Sudan.
Psalm 83 draws the link between attack on God’s people and attack on the honour of God’s name. When the Psalmist calls on God to act for the sake of his name he makes it clear that it is so men will seek after God. As we pray for Sudan, meditate on Psalm 83 and pray for God to act for the honour of his name so that men will seek his name.