Temporary worship structures in south-eastern Sudan were destroyed by fire on 16 January, three weeks after the buildings they had replaced were burned down.
The news comes amid criticism from local human rights defenders of the decision by the United States State Department to remove Sudan from its list of Countries of Particular Concern.
Reports by a human rights organisation, state that three churches located in different neighbourhoods of Bout Town in Blue Nile State, were razed to the ground on the evening of 28 December. The churches have been identified as belonging to the Sudan Internal Church, the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. Despite church members reporting these incidents to the police, there were no investigations into the attacks.
The Christian community rebuilt the churches from local materials; however, on 16 January the three churches were burned down again. The churches filed cases with the local police once again, but report that no further steps were taken.
Sudan’s Minister of Religious Affairs, Nasr al-Din Mufreh, issued a statement on 21 January reaffirming the government’s commitment to protecting freedom of religion or belief and disputing the reports that three churches had been attacked.
“This incident is true, the three churches were set on fire twice in less than a month,” according to a pastor in Maban, whose name is withheld for security reasons.
“Some Bout area Muslims were upset about the presence of the churches there, and they are suspected in the fires”, he said.
Sources: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Morning Star News
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