April 28, 2015 by Janelle P

In an election boycotted by the opposition, Sudan’s president Omar Hassan al-Bashir won re-election to extend his nearly three-decade rule for another five years. According to the official results announced on Monday, Bashir won 94 percent of the votes.

The African Union (AU) observer mission confirmed last week low voter turnout in the elections, saying it would not exceed 40 percent and said this could be partially due to the boycott by opposition parties. The European Union, United States, Britain and Norway all criticized the election, saying the lack of a promised national dialogue left Sudan without an inclusive political process.

President Bashir, 71, will take the oath of office on June 2. He came to power in 1989 when he overthrew the elected Prime Minister Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi in a bloodless coup with the help of Hassan al-Turabi, the leader of the National Islamic Front. Following the coup, Bashir allied himself with Turabi and with his backing began institutionalizing Sharia law in Sudan. In 2008, the International Criminal Court accused Bashir of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Sudan ranks No. 6 on the Open Doors’ World Watch List 2015 (WWL). Under Bashir’s rule the Church has seen severe suffering. According to the WWL, his regime is “authoritarian and wants to control the life of its citizens. Apostasy is criminalized, punishable by the death penalty, and it is very harsh, especially on non-Arabs.”

The people in the Nuba mountains have faced indiscriminate bombings in the government’s efforts to root out rebels. A large number of Christians reside in the Nuba area.

Pray that the Lord will strengthen His Church in Sudan to live out the gospel despite the dangers involved. Also pray for two evangelical pastors being kept incommunicado in an unknown location by Sudan’s intelligence service.

Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.

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