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Sudan accused of helping seize property from church comment (0)

November 7, 2013

JUBA, South Sudan — After months of bulldozing or taking over church buildings on the pretext that they belong to South Sudanese who are no longer citizens of the country, authorities are aiding a Muslim businessman’s effort to take over church property in Khartoum North.

Sudan’s police and security forces broke through the fence of Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church on Oct. 5, beat and arrested Christians in the compound and asserted parts of the property belonged to the Muslim investor accompanying them, Hisham Hamada El-Neel, sources said.

Police and personnel from the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) broke onto the property aboard a truck and two Land Cruisers. They arrested some of the Christians as well as Pastor Dawood Fadul of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC); they were all released later that day.

Authorities asserted El-Neel had signed a contract giving him a right to invest in land that is part of the church property. Church members were not told who gave him the contract, and they suspect the government is behind the move.

Because of its treatment of Christians and other human rights violations, Sudan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the U.S. State Department since 1999, and in April, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended the country remain on the list in 2013.

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