Field sources have informed Open Doors about the fatal stabbing of a church elder in Khartoum on April 3rd.
The tragic stabbing is related to a long-running dispute within the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church. Against the wishes of the church denomination, the government imposed an external committee to govern them. Since 2013, this committee has been selling church properties to businessmen aligned with the government.
One of the properties involved is the Evangelical School in Omdurman. On April 3rd, Christians gathered at the school intending to hold a three-day peaceful protest against the illegal appropriation of the school by a businessman, who is also a policeman. The police arrested all of the men in the group, leaving the women behind. After the men of the church were taken away, a group of about 20 persons, including members of the external committee, entered the school property armed with knives and other weapons and began to beat the women.
Several men from the nearby Bahri Evangelical Church rushed to the school to protect the women. The armed men attacked them and two church members were stabbed. Younan Abdullah, an elder in Bahri Evangelical Church, later died of his injuries. Younan is survived by his wife and two young children. The second injured church member, Ayoub Kumama, was treated at a nearby hospital and has since been discharged.
Prior to the attack, the police had repeatedly arrested Christians engaged in peaceful protests at the school. Younan was arrested during a peaceful protest just a week before he was killed.
During Monday’s violent assault, the police were present, but failed to intervene to protect those who were attacked. They also did nothing to help Younan after he was stabbed. Following Younan’s death, the police arrested Mr. Shamshoun Hamoud, a member of the government appointed committee, whom eyewitnesses identified as the person who had fatally stabbed Younan. None of the other attackers have been arrested.
Younan’s funeral took place on April 4th at the Evangelical School in Omdurman. Younan’s family members were present, as were the United States Ambassador to Sudan and the Second Secretary of the British Embassy.
Heavenly Father, we lift our hands toward heaven as we bring our petitions before You on behalf of Younan’s family and the believers in Khartoum who grieve the loss of this elder in Your church. Comfort them, Father, and uphold them in this time of sorrow with Your peace and strength. Grant wisdom, patience, and peace-filled courage to the church leaders and members as they face this committee’s ongoing attempts to confiscate church properties. We pray especially that they might retain the Evangelical School in Omdurman and the Bahri Evangelical Church compound. We pray that the perpetrators of the attack will be brought to justice and that the increasing pressure against Christians in Sudan will be brought to an end. We pray for those in opposition to the church that You might open their eyes to see the presence of Christ in Your people and that You might draw them in faith to Yourself. In the name of Jesus who is building His kingdom from all nations and tribes. Amen.