Sudan: Rapid Support Forces Occupy Two Cathedrals in Khartoum
Khartoum — The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have occupied the Episcopal All Saints Cathedral and the Coptic Virgin Mary Cathedral in Khartoum.
Paramilitaries of the RSF stormed the All Saints Cathedral in Khartoum II yesterday morning and turned it into a military base.
“The main gate and the doors to the offices were opened by force,” Rev Ezekiel Kondo, archbishop of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Sudan and bishop of Khartoum reported on his Facebook page following the raid.
“They threatened the guard with a gun and stole the vehicle of the diocese. Nobody knows what happened to the rest of church property,” he stated.
“The church leadership and the entire Christian episcopal community condemn this disrespectful act,” the archbishop added. “We demand the immediate exit and withdrawal of these forces from the cathedral’s compound. Such acts must stop and should never happen again to any place of worship.”
In central Khartoum, RSF soldiers occupied the Virgin Mary Coptic Cathedral more than a week ago. The compound contains a school and a number of residences for the cleric.
“For exactly one week, the RSF have been entering the church as they please,” according to an eyewitness whose report was posted on social media on Monday.
“Each day, for the last week, the RSF have used the church as a place to access water, toilets, and to charge their telephones,” the source said.
“They jeopardised the safety of those living within the church walls and told the bishop and clergymen they would have to leave the church compound all together as they were going to use the place as an RSF encampment and as a potential battleground.”
“Most of the church buildings have been destroyed and the safety of all was threatened. Yesterday, after extremely high tensions due to the ongoing situation, as well as what took place at St George’s church in Omdurman, all those living in the church were evacuated,” the source reported. “They are currently safe.”
Radio Dabanga reported on Monday that the Mar Girgis (St George) Coptic church in El Musalama in old Omdurman was attacked by an armed group on Sunday morning. Four people sustained bullet wounds and a priest was assaulted.
According to Religion News Service, two rockets struck the grounds of the Our Lady Queen of Africa, the Roman Catholic cathedral in El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan, on April 24. The cathedral is known to be the largest on the continent.