Sudanese authorities have closed the meeting places of Christian congregations serving refugee communities in the capital, Khartoum. The closure of the churches follows Ministry of Internal Affairs order issued at the beginning of February to register by February 15.
“On Friday, refugee churches that used to meet at the Presbyterian Church compounds in Jerief and Suq Arabi areas, learned that their meeting places [had] been closed off and sealed with new locks. The Presbyterian Church in Gerief was also closed for services to Sudanese Christians,” a source who remains anonymous for security reasons, told Open Doors. “At least six churches were unable to conduct their main services on either Friday or Sunday.”
Those refugee congregations in Khartoum that submitted their application by the deadline were told to provide extra information. The extra information must, for example, include the name and address details of the senior pastor, the number and names of all the members and their exact place of meeting.
Churches affected by this move include those ministering to refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and the Philippines among others. Pastors earlier expressed concern over this move and said they feared the government would gain a lot of information about their operations, yet fail to grant registration – the way it happened in neighbouring Eritrea.
The government of Sudan has been exerting increasing pressure against Christians in Sudan. Currently they are holding two Christian pastors they arrested in December last year incommunicado, with no formal charges brought in against them in the capital. There is mounting concern for the wellbeing of the two pastors.