El Obeid, Sudan, Oct 27, 2021 / 15:19 pm (CNA).
The international community must to put pressure on Sudan’s military to show respect and value for human life, a Catholic bishop in the country said Tuesday, shortly after a coup.
Sudan’s military launched a coup against the country’s transitional government Oct. 25. Civilian rule was dissolved and General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan became head of state. Protesters have been fired on, with 10 reportedly killed.
Bishop Yunan Tombe Trille Andali of El Obeid told ACI Africa Oct. 26 that the coup is a retrogression that brings Sudan “back to the military junta rule.”
“We hear of the death of the people who express their feelings towards the coup against civilian governments,” Bishop Tombe Trille said after multiple protesters were reportedly killed.
“The international community should put their pressure on the junta to value the life of their citizens,” he said.
Bishop Tombe Trille also urged the international community “to assist the military junta to respect and abide with the norms, release the detained civil ministers and dialogue with them to hand back the power to civil government.”
“The message of the scripture remains to be the strength of the people of God in the light of any situation,” the bishop, who is also president of the Sudanese bishops’ conference, commented.
He added, “The Church in Sudan has (never) remained silent under the Cross of Christ despite some changes which took place in Sudan; the attitude of the rulers towards the Church never changed.”
Sudan had been under the military dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir since 1989, but pro-democracy protests led to his overthrow in April 2019 and the installation of a transitional government which had both civilian and military elements.
There was a failed coup in September, but this week Burhan, who was chair of the power-sharing Sovereignty Council, has detained civilian government and political party leaders.
The coup has been widely condemned, with the US and the World Bank withholding aid, and the African Union suspending Sudan from the bloc.
Sudan was listed by the US Department of State as a Country of Particular Concern for its religious freedom record from 1999 to 2019.
In December 2019, it was moved to the Special Watch List “due to significant steps taken by the civilian-led transitional government to address the previous regime’s ‘systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.’”
At least 90 percent of Sudan’s population is Muslim, though Islam was disestablished in 2020.