The charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is warning that churches and Christian institutions in Sudan may face further attacks after the country’s largest church was completely destroyed by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF).
The church, which was used by both the Episcopal and Evangelical denominations, was built in the early 1900s and was the second oldest church in Omdurman, after the Coptic Church. Most of the buildings registered to the Evangelical Church in the surrounding area were confiscated under the rule of Omar al-Bashir, who was the country's head of state until he was deposed in a coup in 2019.
On Friday, five nuns and several children were injured after a building belonging to the Comboni Catholic missionary order in Khartoum El-Shajara was also bombed.
The latest shelling took place approximately three weeks after similar bombings of the Evangelical Commercial School and the Evangelical Secondary School, both in Omdurman.
CSW sources believe the attacks on churches are intentional, and that more may follow as the SAF and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continue to negotiate a ceasefire in Saudi Arabia. The charity says that the land is valuable, and would be easier to seize if the buildings had been destroyed.
The RSF and SAF have been in conflict since April when violence erupted as the two forces were due to merge in line with an internationally supported framework agreement on a transition to democracy. Since then, CSW says that hundreds of civilians have been killed, and there are numerous reports of sexual violence, looting, the occupation of homes and public buildings, summary executions, mass graves and burned villages.
CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW condemns in the strongest terms the attacks on churches and their properties in Omdurman and Khartoum El-Shajara. We wish the injured a swift and full recovery, and reiterate that the intentional targeting of places of worship not only violates international humanitarian law, but also constitutes a war crime. We continue to call for a full and comprehensive ceasefire, and urge the international community to hold both warring parties accountable for the violations and abuses they have committed against Sudanese citizens, both during this conflict and before it.’