Displaying items by tag: Sudan
The fall of President Bashir has intensified a competition for influence in Sudan, one of Africa’s biggest countries. Talks between the new military rulers, who have now arrested two of his brothers, and protesters demanding a civilian government continue, as thousands remain camped outside Khartoum army headquarters. Omar al-Bashir is under tight guard in a maximum-security prison. Uganda said it would consider offering asylum if he applied, despite an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The generals now running Sudan said Bashir will not be transferred to the ICC but will be tried in Sudan. Meanwhile demonstrators have vowed to stay on the streets, pressing for women's rights and the handover of power to the people. Hundreds of doctors marched in Khartoum on 18 April to get rid of the regime.
‘The regime has fallen, we won!’ was the cry outside the defence ministry as the three-decade reign of President al-Bashir came to an end on 11 April. President Omar al-Bashir has stepped down, and consultations are under way to set up a transitional military council to run Sudan. Bashir is under heavy guard at the presidential residence. Tens of thousands of Sudanese took to the streets in the centre of Khartoum in jubilation, dancing and chanting anti-Bashir slogans. Since 19 December 2018, Sudan has experienced persistent violent demonstrations sparked by the government’s attempt to raise the price of bread, and an economic crisis that has led to fuel and cash shortages.
Sudan is among the world’s worst for gender inequality, with many women deprived of their rights. Now, a new SAT-7 Arabic show is offering women a platform for their voices to be heard. Hosted by three female Sudanese presenters, ‘Woman and Mirror’ is giving women hope by letting women view themselves through the mirror of the Bible. Sudan’s gender discrimination begins in childhood. The country has one of the highest rates of female genital mutilation in the world (87%). A quarter of Sudanese girls stop attending school early in secondary education, and can be legally be married at age ten. Soaring inflation, public protests, and a security crackdown under a state of emergency have made life difficult and unsafe for many. Pray for the country’s people. Pray that ‘Woman and Mirror’ will offer guidance and reassurance to women and families in these unstable times.
President Bashir released all females detained for anti-government demonstrations on International Women's Day. The next day nine Sudanese women protesters were arrested and sentenced to twenty lashes plus a month in prison. In February Bashir declared a state of emergency and other measures including emergency courts across the country. The women were arrested for participating in a ‘banned demonstration’ in the capital's eastern district of Burri, a site of regular protests, and tried in one of the ‘emergency courts’. They are now in a women's prison in Omdurman. An appeal against the verdict was filed on 10 March. Protests against Bashir have happened almost daily across Sudan since 19 December. Pray for government leaders to rule with integrity and justice, and for peace and stability between tribal groups and military commanders who continue to vie for power.
A parliamentary committee tasked with amending Sudan’s constitution to allow President Omar al-Bashir to run for another term said it would indefinitely postpone a meeting to draft these changes. The president, a former army officer who came to power after a military coup, is facing unprecedented opposition to his rule, with street protests involving hundreds of people almost daily since mid-December over food prices, cash shortages and his 30-year rule. 75-year-old Bashir blamed protests on foreign ‘agents’ and challenged his opponents to seek power through the ballot box. Elections are expected in 2020. Sudan’s authoritarian government is ruled as an Islamic state with limited rights for religious minorities, freedom of speech restrictions, press restraints and multiple church building demolitions. Human Rights Watch reported over 51 deaths in nationwide rallies being subdued by riot police.
Sudanese security agents raided a house in the city of Nyala, and arrested 13 people when they admitted to being Christians. Two believers were released, but ten converts from Islam and their pastor, Tajdeen Yousif, were detained. The pastor refused to deny Christ despite being beaten by the agents, and the ten were later released after reportedly being tortured into recanting their faith. Pastor Tajdeen, also a convert from Islam,was held for several more days before being released. All eleven have now gone into hiding for their safety. Under sharia law, Muslims who abandon their religion face severe punishment. Sudan’s constitution gives judicial discretion to courts in the application of sharia.
The Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) is challenging a government decision to impose an unelected leadership committee on the church. On 23 August the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments, which oversees religious affairs in Sudan, appointed an alternative executive committee led by Mr Angelo Alzaki. Before this, eight SCOC leaders had been arrested and charged with trespassing on church headquarters and refusing to hand over control of the church to him. They were later released on bail. The SCOC's leadership said that this action violates the procedures of the denomination. The situation mirrors the Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church, where a government-backed church committee that was not constituted in accordance with church procedures has sold church land to developers.
Health care for our brothers and sisters in South Kordofan, Sudan, faces a crisis. Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) reports that after hospitals were bombed and aid organisations chased from the country, only two doctors are treating 1.1 million people. Even if people weren’t being maimed in government bombings, medical aid would be desperately lacking for everyday needs such as delivering babies, treating malaria, and helping people injured in accidents. Last year, VOM delivered 44.5 tons of medicine to the South Kordofan region, and it is supporting the few medical workers still in the region by helping to build a clinic and providing badly needed mosquito nets for its patients. See also article 7 in this section.
Some 126 refugees drowned in the Mediterranean after Libyan people-smugglers stole their outboard motor, leaving them at the mercy of the waves and other attackers. The dinghy, which left from a beach in Libya on 16 June, was heading toward Italy when it was attacked. The waves soon engulfed the dinghy and it sank. It is believed there were 130 on board, of whom four (two Nigerians and two Sudanese) were rescued by passing fishermen. Most of the passengers were from Sudan. A spokesman for the UN migration agency said the incident was ‘tantamount to murder’. He added, ‘We believe the motor may even have been stolen by the smugglers who launched the dinghy in the first place, or a rival group. Many motors have been stolen in recent times as they are valuable to the smugglers.’
Recently, members of the Sudan Church of Christ gathered for worship in the Khartoum suburb of Soba al Aradi. Before the service began, a bulldozer rumbled toward the church and demolished it, the last church still standing in the area. In 2011, the Sudanese government demolished twelve churches in the same suburb, as part of its announced plan to destroy 27 churches. Sudan’s president, Umar al-Bashir, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes. Nevertheless, he continues his campaign to rid Sudan of Christians, demolishing church buildings around Khartoum and routinely bombing Christian villages in the Nuba Mountains to the south. Pray for pastors who are experiencing persecution and have had property confiscated, for Christians in various prisons throughout Sudan, and for Christian communities experiencing bombing campaigns in their schools and hospitals.