JUBA, South Sudan, December 20, 2015 (Morning Star News) – Security officials arrested two Sudanese pastors in the Khartoum area of Sudan on Friday (Dec. 18), sources said.
Authorities from the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested both leaders of the Sudan Church of Christ (SCOC) separately at their respective homes at 7 a.m., they said. The Rev. Kowa Shamaal, head of missions at the SCOC, was arrested at his house in Hai Thiba Al Hamyida, in Khartoum Bahry (North Khartoum), while the Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim, SCOC vice moderator, was arrested at his home in Ombada block 43 in Omdurman.
Family members and church officials have been given no reason for the arrest of the pastors, who have objected to government demolition of SCOC worship buildings. Their whereabouts were also unknown.
“We have not gotten any information on why our pastors were detained, and their families have not been informed also,” an SCOC official told Morning Star News.
Both church leaders are from the Nuba Mountain region of South Kordofan state. Ethnic Nuba, along with Christians, face discrimination in Sudan, where President Omar al-Bashir has vowed to adopt a stricter version of sharia (Islamic law) and recognize only Islamic culture and the Arabic language.
Shamaal’s church building was demolished in the Hai Thiba Al Hamyida area of Khartoum North on June 29-30, 2014. This year, after bulldozing a Lutheran Church of Sudan (LCS) building on Oct. 21, authorities in the Karari area of Omdurman demolished an SCOC building on Oct. 27 without prior warning, church leaders said. Local authorities said the SCOC building was on government land, a claim church leaders adamantly denied. The SCOC church was established in 1998.
A source in Khartoum told Morning Star News that Shamaal and Abdelrahim are in detention at an undisclosed NISS site in Khartoum state.
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