Sudanese Church Caught Between Warring Generals

Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo | Episcopal Church of Sudan

Two military leaders who have controlled Sudan’s national government since 2019 are now at war with each other, and according to the World Health Organization, at least 296 people have been killed and more than 3,000 have been injured.

The conflict erupted on April 15. The forces had agreed to a ceasefire on April 18, but both sides agreed each other of breaching the truce. Another ceasefire was set for April 19.

The battles are between the Sudanese military, led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. During Sudan’s Darfur conflict in the early 2000s, Dagalo was the leader of Sudan’s Janjaweed forces, which were implicated in human rights violations and atrocities.

The Episcopal Church of Sudan has suffered a raid on its cathedral compound in the capital city of Khartoum.

Bishop Nick Baines of Leeds told Madeleine Davis of the Church Times that he was in daily contact with Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo, who had texted on April 18 to say that the cathedral compound had been raided the previous night, “and their cars destroyed using firearms.”

“There is a lot of fear,” Baines said. “The large Sudanese community in our churches here is fearful. At the moment, we pray hard and keep in touch.”

Life for Christians had looked more promising after President Omar al-Bashir’s ouster in 2019, Fikiru Mehari of Open Doors in East Africa told the Church Times. But now “Christians have less and less hope,” he said.

The Archbishop of Canterbury expressed concern through a tweet on April 17. “We hold the nation of Sudan in our prayers at this time,” he wrote. “Lord God, protect the civilians, bring peace to this appalling crisis in the nation’s life, and allow political stability to return.”


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