After months of bulldozing or taking over church buildings on the pretext that they belong to South Sudanese who are no longer citizens of the country, authorities are aiding a Muslim businessman’s effort to take over church property in Khartoum North, sources said.
Sudan’s police and security forces broke through the fence of Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church this month, beat and arrested Christians in the compound and asserted parts of the property belonged to the Muslim investor accompanying them, sources said.
As Muslims nearby shouted, “Allahu Akbar [God is greater],” plainclothes police and personnel from the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Oct. 5 broke onto the property aboard a truck and two Land Cruisers. After beating several Christians who were in the compound, they arrested some of them as well as Pastor Dawood Fadul of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC); they were all released later that day.
Authorities asserted that Muslim businessman Hisham Hamada El-Neel had signed a contract giving him a right to invest in land that is part of the church property. Church members were not told who gave him the contract, and they suspect the government is behind the move, sources said.