Breaking News: 4 Christians Arrested In Sudan For Their Faith
Every December, our offices across the globe notice a dramatic uptick in persecution of Christians abroad. As those of us in the American church prepare for our Advent services, our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are risking everything to fellowship together and worship Christ in places where religious freedom doesn’t exist.
In Sudan this month, we witnessed these statistics come to life as four Christians were arrested for their faith.
First, our sources on the ground in Sudan report to us that two leaders of the Sudan Church of Christ (SCOC), Pastors Kowa Shamal and Hassan Abdelrahim, were arrested in Khartoum last Friday, December 18th by authorities from the Sudanese government’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). Pastor Kowa, the head of missions at the SCOC, was arrested at his house in North Khartoum, while Pastor Abdelrahim, SCOC’s vice moderator, was arrested at his home in Omdurman. Pastor Kowa is the pastor of a church in North Khartoum that was destroyed by Sudanese officials in early 2015.
Charges have yet to be filed against either pastor. Their friends and families are uncertain as to why the pastors have been targeted by NISS.
Additionally, Christian activist Talahon (Tilal) Nigosi Kassa Ratta, a member of an Evangelical church, was arrested six days ago. NISS officials ransacked Tilal’s home, confiscating his laptop and mobile phone. They instructed him to come the following day to collect his phone, but upon his arrival, Tilal was detained by NISS and his been held incommunicado ever since. To date, NISS has not requested any formal charges be brought against Tilal.
Finally, two weeks ago officials arrested Elshikh Kadoud, a Muslim man who read the Bible on his own and converted to Christianity, and charged him with apostasy after his own father reported the case against him to Sudanese authorities. It is believed that he is being held in a Khartoum prison, but officials claim not to know his whereabouts. Inside sources report that NISS is blocking access to Elshikh and that his trial is set to start on December 29th.
This new wave of arrests follows a devastating year for the church in Sudan. As we previously reported, three church buildings were demolished in October alone.
While the Advent season is generally marked by rest and celebration for those of us in the western church, our brothers and sisters in Sudan face ever-increasing persecution. While our aggressive international advocacy helped free Christian mother Mariam Ibraheem and Pastors Michael and Peter from imprisonment and possible death in Sudan, these latest developments prove just how much work remains to be done.
We continue to work with our contacts on the ground in Sudan to protect Christians and their churches from persecution from the Sudanese government and those who seek to extinguish true religious freedom.