The Republic of Sudan is continuing its intense campaign to harass, bully, intimidate, and ultimately threaten Christians living in the predominantly Islamic nation.
On Sunday, five ministers working with the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) were arrested by the police for refusing to cooperate with a government order to close their worship services, according to a Morning Star News report.
Authorities arrived at a church in the Hai Al Thawra West region of Omdurman. According to witnesses, the officers demanded that the church cancel its service in compliance with the order. When the pastors refused, they were arrested for disturbing the peace.
Church staff members Rev. Ayoub Tiliyan, Rev. Ali Haakim Al Aam, and Pastor Ambrator Hammad were arrested along with evangelists Habill Ibrahim and Abdul Bagi Tutu. They were detained and questioned harshly for several hours where they were intimidated and threatened with permanent incarceration if they did not cooperate with the authorities. Fortunately, the five men were released after being held for hours.
This comes on the heels of a report accusing the Sudan Port Authority of refusing to turn over a container of Bibles to the Bible Society in Sudan that arrived almost two years ago.
The Bibles, translated into Arabic, were intended to reach the capital city of Khartoum, but a source tells Morning Star News that the government is refusing to release them as the government associates Christianity with the West.
“There is difficulty in getting Bibles in the country,” the source said, speaking with anonymity due to security reasons.
Sudan has been on a Country of Particular Concern list by the U.S. State Department since 1999 due to its human rights violations and its harsh treatment of Christians since South Sudan seceded in 2011.
Sudan is ranked number five in religious persecution by the World Watch List's 2017 update, an organization that monitors treatment of Christians.