Christians in Sudan ask for prayers after Church leaders were fined in a long-running campaign to seize properties from the Church.
On 5 February 2018, a court fined six Christians 2,500 Sudanese Pounds (US$135) each. In addition, a church elder, Youhanna Tia, was fined 5,000 Sudanese Pounds (US$270). Another 18 defendants were acquitted.
The Christians were accused of resisting the takeover of a school belonging to the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC) in Omdurman, on 3 April 2017. The Christians had been trying to prevent the takeover of the property when an armed mob attacked them, stabbing and killing a church elder, Younan Abdallah.
The takeover of the school, and many other church properties, is due to government intervention in the SPEC. In 2012 the denomination fired members from the committee responsible for church properties because of fraudulent activities. The government intervened and reinstated those committee members several months later. The church does not recognise this action, as the government has no authority to appoint committees in church denominations.
These reinstated committee members have since been selling church properties to a businessman with close ties to the government, Hisham Hamad an-Neel. The SPEC does not recognize these ‘sales’ and refuses to relinquish their properties, which has led to forcible takeovers such as the one on 3 April 2017.
In 2017 there were more forcible takeovers of parts of the SPEC compound in Omdurman. On 26 April part of the compound was confiscated, including the house of the guard, whose family (pictured above) was forcibly removed from their residence without notice. On 15 August two pastors living in the compound, Rev. Yahla Nalou and Rev. Siddiq Abdallah, were forced from their houses.
This government-appointed committee has also been illegally selling SPEC properties in Khartoum, Bahri (Khartoum North), Port Sudan, Kosti , Kadugli , Atbara and other towns in Sudan. There are numerous court cases ongoing about these properties.
In 2017, the government also imposed a committee on another denomination, the Sudan Church of Christ (SCOC). In September and October SCOC church leaders faced charges or were threatened with charges for refusing to hand over churches to this committee. These court cases are ongoing as well.
Sudanese Christians ask for prayer:
a. that those recently fined will know the Lord’s peace, provision and sustenance
b. that church leaders and lawyers representing churches will be led by the Holy Spirit in the ongoing court cases and other interaction with the Sudanese authorities
c. that the government campaign of confiscating and demolishing church-owned properties will end
d. for patience and peace for church leaders and members as they face ongoing harassment, attacks and denial of their right to worship in their church buildings
e. that those responsible for these acts of hostility and destruction will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him