Two articles in this one posting.
Christian mother in Sudan chained, tortured for her faith
20 March 2023
Reprinted from Christian Today [in the U.K.]
For leaving Islam to accept Christ, a young mother in Sudan was chained in her home, subjected to electrical shocks at a psychiactric hospital and has lost her children, a local source said.
Awatif Abdalla Kaki, a 27-year-old mother of four in Omdurman, became a Christian on Jan. 27 after a relative told her about salvation through faith in Christ, said the source, whose identity is withheld for security reasons.
A few days after accepting Christ, she had a dream in which He appeared to her, and she told her relatives about it and her new faith at her parents’ home in Omdurman, across the Nile from Khartoum, where she, her husband and children lived, the source said.
Her husband tried to force her to renounce her faith by chaining her legs and tightening the chains, the source said. Asserting that she was mad, he then forcibly took her to a psychiactric hospital, where she received an unidentified injection and electrical shocks against her will, the source said.
Abdalla’s legs were injured from the chains, and although her husband has taken their children to his parents’ house to live with him, he maintains a large influence on her family and remains a threat, the source said. The oldest of her four children is 8 years old.
“She continues to live in mental anguish,” the source said, adding that her parents and siblings are all Muslims who believe she is suffering mental illness for believing in Christ. “I fear for her safety and pray that she can get a refuge outside her home so that she has peace of mind and can grow in her new faith.”
Abdalla is receiving no assistance from any Christians, the source said.
In Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Sudan was ranked No. 10, up from No. 13 the previous year, as attacks by non-state actors continued and religious freedom reforms at the national level were not enacted locally.
Sudan had dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in six years when it first ranked No. 13 in the 2021 World Watch List. The U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report states that conditions have improved somewhat with the decriminalization of apostasy and a halt to demolition of churches, but that conservative Islam still dominates society; Christians face discrimination, including problems in obtaining licenses for constructing church buildings.
The U.S. State Department in 2019 removed Sudan from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) that engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom” and upgraded it to a watch list. The State Department removed Sudan from the Special Watch List in December 2020.
Sudan had previously been designated as a CPC from 1999 to 2018.
Following two years of advances in religious freedom in Sudan after the end of the Islamist dictatorship under Omar al-Bashir in 2019, the specter of state-sponsored persecution returned with the military coup of Oct. 25, 2021.
After Bashir was ousted from 30 years of power in April 2019, the transitional civilian-military government had managed to undo some sharia (Islamic law) provisions. It outlawed the labeling of any religious group “infidels” and thus effectively rescinded apostasy laws that made leaving Islam punishable by death.
With the Oct. 25, 2021 coup, Christians in Sudan fear the return of the most repressive and harsh aspects of Islamic law. Abdalla Hamdok, who had led a transitional government as prime minister starting in September 2019, was detained under house arrest for nearly a month before he was released and reinstated in a tenuous power-sharing agreement in November 2021.
Hamdock had been faced with rooting out longstanding corruption and an Islamist “deep state” from Bashir’s regime – the same deep state that is suspected of rooting out the transitional government in the Oct. 25, 2021 coup.
Persecution of Christians by non-state actors continued before and after the coup.
The Christian population of Sudan is estimated at 2 million, or 4.5 percent of the total population of more than 43 million.
Nigeria: Militants wielding axes, machetes kill 27 Christians ahead of gubernatorial election
20 March 2023
Reprinted from Christian Today [in the U.K.]
Kaduna State has been beset with violence and insecurity.
(CP) In a recent wave of violence, militants targeted Christian communities in Nigeria’s Kaduna state resulting in at least 27 deaths, according to a U.S.-based persecution watchdog whose sources suspect the attacks were aimed at preventing Christians from voting in the gubernatorial election.
The assailants, who had previously attacked the Agwan Wakili area in Kaduna, killing at least 17 people, returned this week and struck the Mubushi and Langson communities, which left at least 10 dead a few miles from Agwan Wakili, the watchdog International Christian Concern reported.
At least 10 people have been reported killed in this week’s attack on Langson, the Nigerian newspaper The Guardian reported. According to ICC, 14 others were injured.
Security forces had been deployed to the sites after the attacks, the group added, noting that its representative visited the scene to document the aftermath and gather photographic evidence, but military officials confiscated his phone.
During the night-time attack, most villagers were sleeping outdoors due to the intense heat, while others kept watch as they had received a prior warning, ICC said, adding that witnesses suggested the attack was carried out to prevent Christians from voting in the election.
A local leader was quoted as saying that the assault was a “political massacre of Christians” in areas where the ruling All Progressives Congress party was likely going to lose Saturday’s gubernatorial election. An area leader from the Labour Party was also running for governor of Kaduna, and the people of the attacked communities were expected to vote for him.
The source added that Christian farmers in Nigeria often face heightened violence during election periods.
Another ICC source said some militants are members of the Nigeria army.
An ICC staffer received a message from a contact indicating that a helicopter had flown over the community shortly before the attack, potentially to survey populated areas, analyze security measures and facilitate the militants’ infiltration.
Earlier this month, gunmen suspected to be bandits killed the son of a village pastor and abducted his wife, along with three others, in an attack in Karimbu-Kahugu community in Lere Local Government Area of Kaduna.
Christian rights groups have warned for years about the deteriorating religious freedom conditions in Nigeria amid the rise of terror groups like Boko Haram and the Islamic State in the northeast. Advocates have also warned about an increase in deadly violence against predominantly Christian communities committed by radical herders in the farming-rich Middle Belt states as the country deals with desertification and erosion of natural resources.
Critics of the Muhammadu Buhari government contend it is not doing enough to thwart the violence.
However, the U.S. State Department under President Joe Biden reaffirmed its decision to remove Nigeria from its list of countries of particular concern for religious freedom violations after conducting what it described as a “careful review.” Nigerian Christians, human rights groups and members of Congress objected to the Biden administration’s decision to lift the CPC designation from Nigeria.
The CPC designation carries with it the possibility for sanctions and other deterrence actions to influence those countries to improve religious freedom conditions.
A 2021 religious freedom report released by the State Department in June 2022 noted, “There was pervasive violence involving predominantly Muslim herders and mostly Christian, but also Muslim, farmers, particularly in the North Central, but also in the North West (where most farmers were Muslim) and South West regions.”
The report added, “According to the Nigeria security tracker maintained by the Council on Foreign Relations, there were an estimated 10,399 deaths from violent conflict during the year, compared with 9,694 in 2020.”
According to the watchdog group Open Doors, Nigeria ranks No. 6 on the organization’s 2023 World Watch List, which lists the top 50 worst countries for Christian persecution. The watchdog group reported that in 2022, 5,014 Christians were killed for their faith, and 4,726 were abducted.
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