News Sudan | 06 June 2024

Sudanese Christians say they feel forgotten


Show: true / Country: Sudan / Sudan
It’s been more than a year since a brutal civil war broke out in Sudan. Aid agencies are warning of mass famine. Millions of people are displaced.

And Christians say they feel completely forgotten.

“Sudan is home to the world’s largest displacement—with nearly 9 million people on the run—and is facing the world’s largest hunger crisis, but it is not getting the attention and the response it should compared to other crises,” says Illia Djadi, Open Doors’ senior analyst for Freedom of Religion or Belief in sub-Saharan Africa.

When Djadi visited the region earlier this month, he met with church leaders who said they “feel forgotten.” “The situation is deteriorating every day, and there is no response from the world,” Djadi says. “There is a strong feeling of abandonment.”

The conflict began in April 2023 between two military factions—one, the “official” armed forces of the nation, and the other, a paramilitary group formally allied with the military. A power struggle broke out, igniting violence that has horrified the world. Dr. Christos Christou, the international president of Doctors Without Borders, notes that Sudan is one of the “worst crises the world has seen for decades.” There are even fears of a genocide, an echo of the shocking violence that engulfed the region of Darfur in the mid-2000s.

Additional pressure for Christians

The situation is particularly dire for Sudanese Christians. Living in a majority-Muslim country that is ranked No. 8 on the 2024 Open Doors World Watch List is difficult enough, but the violence has added extra pressure. “There is no security, no protection,” Djadi says. “Not from the warring parties or from opportunists who will use this situation to further their own agendas. Christians [and] churches have been attacked with impunity.”

So far, more than 150 churches have been damaged or destroyed—some of these have been targeted, and others are a byproduct of the ongoing violence. Christians forced from their homes often must flee multiple times and as a result, lose contact with other members of the small Christian community.

The majority of those displaced have fled to other areas in Sudan. For these internally displaced people (IDPs) the risk “remains high,” says Rachel Morley, an Open Doors researcher. “While refugees move away from the immediate danger and find refuge in places where they receive a level of [international] protection, IDPs do not have that,” she says. “They are less protected and still at a higher risk because they remain in a similar environment.”

For Christians, their faith is an added vulnerability. Where they find shelter, they might face discrimination from those around them—or be neglected when it comes to aid distribution. As a result, a large part of the Sudanese church is on the run and unable to provide for its people.

Church leaders are also wary of Islamic extremists using the insecurity to return to power and bringing back Shariah law. Until 2019, Sudan was under the totalitarian rule of Omar al-Bashir, who oversaw a 30-year regime that saw a huge spike in Islamic radicalism. When al-Bashir was ousted in 2019, some of the laws that most targeted Christians were abolished, but most Sudanese believers remember what it was like to follow Jesus in Bashir’s environment of oppression.

According to a recent report, sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the world’s highest number of people who fled their homes and communities because of violence and conflict. While Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo together account for nearly 16 million IDPs, countries such as Burkina Faso and Niger witnessed a growth in internally displaced people as well.

This is part of the reason that Open Doors has begun the multi-year Arise Africa campaign [LINK TO CAMPAIGN ON YOUR WEBSITE] that seeks to bring attention to the horrific violence impacting Christians across the continent. Sudan is yet another outpost in sub-Saharan Africa where Christians risk everything to live out their faith.

We must not forget our brothers and sisters in Sudan who are caught up in the violence, and suffer additionally because of their faith. As always, the most important thing we can do is pray.

please pray
  • Ask God to bring peace to Sudan, and that the warring factions would cease violence and human right abuses.
  • Pray God would protect His people—and enable them to be salt and light in their communities that have been ravaged by war.
  • Pray for Christian IDPs who are discriminated against, that they would find a way to get access to safety and emergency relief aid.
  • Ask God to strengthen church leaders who must care for Christians even as they endure so much.
  • Situations like Sudan can seem so hopeless—but as Christians, we know God is always at work. Pray that God’s redemptive work would be visible and comforting to His people in Sudan.
  • Pray the international community would pay attention to and address the violence in Sudan and across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Open Doors aims to “strengthen what remains and is about to die” (Rev 3:2). Your Monthly Donation can help us provide continuous support to the persecuted church worldwide and enable us to respond immediately to emergency situations.


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