Tragedy recently struck Christians in Kadugli, Sudan, with a disturbing report that a pastor and three believers were shot to death Jan. 23 by suspected Islamic extremists.
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A source told Morning Star News militants attacked the group in the middle of the night while they stayed at a facility during a trip back home.
The victims were Sudanese-American Pastor Ibrahim Kandr, Bashir Almaak, Ismail Osman, and Ayoub Ibrahim. In addition to these deaths, four others were also reportedly injured during the assault: Imtiyas Marhy Jabdool, 29; Fadul Musa Al Haraba, 23; Zakaria Butros Al Haraba, 34; and Mujahid Hassan, 19.
There’s no additional information publicly available about the alleged attack, though one source told Morning Star News Islamic extremists in the area monitor Christians coming and going and likely saw the ministry group arrive before tracking their activities.
Assaults like this could potentially increase in Sudan despite two years of religious freedom advancements following the end of Omar al-Bashir’s rule in 2019. But a political scenario akin to a coup in 2021 and resulting uncertainty could mean more challenges ahead, according to Morning Star News.
Amid those developments, the death penalty for those abandoning Islam is off the books, though some fear it could return.
In Open Doors US’s 2023 World Watch List, Sudan was ranked the 10th worst place in the world for Christian persecution, with the accompanying report noting “persecution of Christians remains at a high level in Sudan, and there are fears this will worsen amid the ongoing unrest.”
“After Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April 2019, Sudan’s transitional government introduced exciting changes to the legal framework guaranteeing basic human rights for all Sudanese, no matter their ethnicity, gender, or religion,” the report continues. “However, mass protests led to the resignation of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok in January 2022, and there are fears that Sudan will return to the authoritarian years of the former president.”
Sudanese Christians face tough scenarios and persecution from society and even their family members, particularly if they have left the Muslim faith. This can take the form of sexual or domestic abuse, according to Open Doors US. Read more about the dire state of affairs in Sudan here.
Lisa Pearce, the interim CEO of Open Doors’ U.S. office, recently told CBN’s Faithwire about the alarming situation in Africa, warning that “Sub-Saharan Africa faces catastrophic collapse” as Islamist violence breaks out in the region.
“That region … is the standout finding of this year’s list,” she said. “It’s not a surprise to us. We’ve been seeing it coming for two or three years, but this year’s figures are stark if you look at the countries where there is most violence against Christians.”
The results in the World Watch List are most undoubtedly sobering, to say the least, with Open Doors’ noting there is a “vast humanitarian catastrophe” in the region “as a wave of religiously motivated violence nurtured in Nigeria (7) has swept across the region, targeting Christian populations at an alarming rate in countries like Burkina Faso (23), Cameroon (45), Mali (17) and Niger (28).”
Read more about the 2023 World Watch List here.
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