Three Christian places of worship, including a Catholic church, were burned down on January 16, 2020 in the town of Bout. A predominantly animist and Christian region of the Sudan, a country with a Muslim majority.
For the second time in a few weeks, three of Bout’s churches were burned down. Once again, the fires started simultaneously in the three places of worship. The criminal origin of the damage leaves little room for doubt. The Sudanese Human Rights and Democracy Organization (HUDO), based in Kampala, Uganda, affirms that the police did not even come to see the damage.
The town of Bout is located in Blue Nile State, a region of approximately 1.2 million people bordering the Republic of South Sudan.
This triple fire comes when the Christians of Sudan—a country with a Muslim majority—have been living for several months in relative respite. The government had even apologized to Catholics during the last Christmas celebration for “the unjust and heavy-handed policies” carried out against them, their families, and their religion, by the ousted regime of Omar el Bashir, dismissed in April 2019. It would have been more accurate to speak of “persecution.”
At the same time, on January 12, 2020, a “commitment to build peace” was signed in Rome, under the auspices of the Catholic Church, between the various factions vying for power in neighboring South Sudan.
A modest step towards a peace that could have repercussions on the Blue Nile, of which a part of the population—especially Christians and animists—is tempted to join the young South Sudanese state.