During the first week of November, the church in Sudan was caught in the crossfire of the two warring parties as bombs destroyed two sanctuaries.
It’s been seven months since the conflict in Sudan started
. What began as a power struggle between two rival factions has devolved into what the U.S. Institute of Peace has called a “civil war.”
And Christians in this East African nation are caught in the middle.
In the first two weeks of November alone, believers have been caught in the crossfire, and two churches have been destroyed.
On November 3, a bomb fell on the mission house of the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Since the start of the war the nuns at this house have welcomed Christians and non-Christians alike.
These sisters have been the hands of feet of Jesus in the midst of the violence. “[The nuns] provide water from the well, because in many places, wells have run dry since the war started,” explains one of our field contacts in the region. “One of the nuns told me that she believes they were sent as missionaries, not just messengers: ‘That’s why we live with the Sudanese whether they are Christian or not, in joyful times and sorrowful times.’”
After the bombing, Open Doors sources said that a group of children and two nuns sustained injuries, as well as the headmaster of a school in the church compound. Altogether, 23 people sustained injuries in the bombing.
Then on November 4, the church building used by both the Evangelical and Episcopal Church in Omdurman, another city in Sudan, was also bombed. The explosion not only damaged the church, but also the a house for orphaned boys located in the church compound, killing at least six children who died following the bombing. It is believed that these buildings were hit because they are situated between the two warring factions.
A partner on the ground in Khartoum shares that there is no way to know for certain if the church buildings were bombed intentionally. However, the Salesian nuns were providing much needed shelter and care for many who had been unable to leave Khartoum.
“We are immensely grateful to members of the Body of Christ like the Salesian nuns who have remained in Khartoum to be Jesus’ hands and feet serving marginalized people,” says Fikiru*, an Open Doors persecution expert in East Africa says. “Indeed, it is devastating to receive the news of church buildings being destroyed. It physically illustrates the pressure the Body of Christ is under in Sudan—clearly an unwanted minority. When I spoke to a Sudanese church leader after the attacks, he asked me to tell brothers and sister around the world praying for Sudan that if it were not for their continued prayers, many more would have died in those attacks.”
In October, representatives of the warring factions in Sudan’s ongoing conflict agreed to meet in Saudi Arabia to resume negotiations. So far, the fighting has killed more than 9,000 people and displaced some 5.6 million since Apri
Our brothers and sisters in Sudan are asking for our prayers to continue. “Please do not forget Sudan in your prayers,” Fikiru says. “Pray for Christians who are displaced, for church leaders serving in uncertain times and that God will bring good out of this difficult situation the church finds itself in.”
Please lift up your family in Sudan!