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11 Sudan Christians killed, priests arrested

JUBA, South Sudan (BP) — Heightened religious persecution in Sudan includes government bombings killing at least 11 Christians and the arrest of two Coptic Orthodox priests for baptizing a convert from Islam, Morning Star News has reported.

The Sudanese government dropped numerous bombs in multiple Christian villages in the last days of 2012, killing young and old, wounding others and decimating property, according to reports by Morning Star News, a California-based nonprofit media outlet founded last year to report on persecution of Christians worldwide.

The attacks reportedly left ethnic Nuba Christians questioning the international community’s presumed silence over the persecution in the country’s Nuba Mountains.

Since South Sudan split from Sudan in 2011, ethnic Nuba in Sudan’s South Kordofan state believe the Khartoum government is trying to rid the region of non-Arab peoples and Christianity, under the guise of quashing Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North rebels, Morning Star News reported.

Khartoum, meanwhile, was the site of nine bombings that killed two Christian women, a 70-year-old and 45-year-old, as well as two siblings ages 8 and 4, Morning Star News reported.

In the year-end killing spree, the Sudanese government also bombed Eire village, killing five members of a Christian family, including a 9-month-old baby, two 4-year-olds, a 7-year-old and a 60-year-old, and wounding another family member. Separate government bombings killed a Christian civilian in Um Serdiba village and wounded a pastor in the town of Kauda. Other bombings destroyed property but spared lives, Morning Star News reported. The news service also reported that the Khartoum government damaged an Africa Inland Church building in north Khartoum; deported a pastor and his wife; and refused to allow the Lutheran Church of Sudan to record a Christmas message for its traditional television broadcast.

In another development reported by Morning Star News, Sudanese security forces refused to reveal the whereabouts of two Coptic priests arrested in December after they baptized a Christian convert who reportedly had kept her conversion a secret from her Sudanese Arab family for two years.

The arrest reportedly marks the first time in 23 years of the Islamic government of President Omar al-Bashir that Coptic Orthodox Church leaders have been arrested. Criticism of the church in Sudanese media has encouraged Islamic extremists to call for aggressive government action to rid Sudan of Christianity, according to Morning Star, and a group called Al Qaeda in the Nilien States is threatening violence against the church.

Members of the Sudan Embassy in Ethiopia intercepted the baptized Christian at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport as she tried to leave the country, her current fate reportedly not revealed. Government officials arrested a Khartoum travel agent accused of trying to help the convert leave Sudan unbeknownst to her Muslim family.
Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Diana Chandler.

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