A concerning wave of crisis targeting places of worship in Sudan has been reported, as documented by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a U.K.-based group. In a recent incident, armed individuals arrived at Al-Masalma Coptic Church in Omdurman. They attacked churchgoers, injuring four individuals, including Priest Arsenius and his son.
During a two-hour spree, the assailants looted the church while stabbing the church’s guard.
Separately, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) forcibly evicted all clergy members, including Bishop Elia of Khartoum and South Sudan, from Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church, reportedly to convert the premises into a military base.
The surge of violence has not spared mosques either. Bombings targeted the Al Zareeba mosque in El Geneina, West Darfur, and other mosques in Alazhari and Burri Al Daraisa in Khartoum.
These incidents occur amidst an ongoing crisis in Sudan between rival sections of the military government, the Sudanese Armed Forces, and the RSF. The conflict shows significant casualties, with reports indicating that up to 1,000 individuals have lost their lives.
The crisis in Sudan forced approximately 200,000 people to flee the country, while another 700,000 became internally displaced, according to The Guardian.
In response to the escalating crisis,
The United Nations Human Rights Council has expanded the mandate of the designated Expert of the High Commissioner on human rights in Sudan. This expanded mandate now includes a comprehensive assessment and documentation of alleged human rights violations since the military coup took place in October 2021.
Furthermore, Sudanese Armed Forces and RSF representatives signed a Declaration of Commitment in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. They pledged to protect Sudanese civilians, ensure the secure delivery of humanitarian aid, and facilitate restoring essential services.
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CSW’s founding President, Mervyn Thomas, strongly condemns the attacks on religious sites and calls for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. He also emphasized the importance of a peaceful democratic transition in Sudan, achieved through promoting and protecting human rights. And meaningful involvement of civil society in transition negotiations.