CSW welcomes the commitment of the Sudanese government to investigate extremist attacks on the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) in Jabarona, on the outskirts of the capital city, Khartoum.
In a given to the Sudan Tribune, the Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments Nasr al-Din Mufreh confirmed that the ministry would work with the relevant authorities to investigate reports of multiple attacks on the church, take all necessary measures to protect the church, and arrest all those found responsible.
The SCOC in Jabarona was on 18 December, 14 January, 21 January and 29 January. During each incident, the assailants attempted to burn down parts of the place of worship. In addition to the attacks, church leaders received serious threats from Muslim extremists living in the area, who warned that they would not allow churches to be built in the area even if official permission was granted.
Demas Mragan, a human rights lawyer and legal representative of the SCOC, confirmed that a church affairs advisor had contacted the denomination and was in the process of appointing a committee to investigate the attacks.
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “We welcome the decision to establish a committee to investigate the attacks on the Sudanese Church of Christ in Jabarona. We urge the government, in particular the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Guidance, to ensure that there is a swift investigation, that all perpetrators are brought to justice, and that the congregation receives the necessary security to enable them to meet without fear.”
The targeting of the SCOC building is part of a series of arson attacks on churches in Sudan by unknown assailants since December 2019. On 29 February an SCOC church was set on fire in Ombadda Block 18, Omdurman, Khartoum’s second city. The perpetrators remain unknown.
On 9 March CSW's sources reported that extremists had razed the Sudanese Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Bout Town, El Tadamon locality, Blue Nile state, to the ground. The church building and all property within it, including furniture, bibles and other religious materials, were destroyed.
The attack on the SEPC is particularly concerning as it is in the same location as the Sudan Internal Church, the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church which were attacked on and again on 16 January 2020.
Despite assurances from the Federal and State governments that the churches would be rebuilt and perpetrators would be brought to justice, the churches are still waiting for a resolution.
Mr Thomas continued: “We urge the Minister of Religious Affairs and Guidance Mr Nasr al-Din Mufreh to open a comprehensive investigation into every attack on churches in Sudan since December 2019. We also call on Sudan to address violations of freedom of religion or belief by non-state actors in addition to reforming the laws and policies that have historically restricted FoRB in Sudan.”