07/18/2019 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the Sudanese Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the protesters’ organization, Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), have officially signed a power-sharing agreement in Khartoum, Sudan. This deal was signed on July 17, 2019, and states that there will be a new governmental body called the sovereign council. However, it is still unclear whether this council will hold true power, or if it will be more of a ceremonial body.
The council will be made up of roughly half civilians and half military leaders, though reports vary regarding whether the council will have 11 or 12 members. Despite these inconsistencies, it is known that the council will be led by a chairman, who will be from the military for the first 21 months, and then switch to a civilian for the following 18 months leading up to the elections in three years.
When asked about the climate in Khartoum, a local pastor, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “The civil protests have really affected the Church socially, emotionally, and financially. We have been tied for months because of the running battles, extrajudicial killings, failed peace talks, and many people, including our church members, must skip work due to instability. In such an environment where Islam is the main religion, anger and retaliation always fall back to the churches. Many churches have been forced to close down during Sunday worship as a sign of showing support for the unrest.”
Sudan has long been a persecutor of Christians. Though there was initially hope that freedom of religion would increase with the fall of Omar al-Bashir, this has yet to happen. The pastor continued, “Today’s political agreement is a roadmap towards constitutional review talks that are planned for Friday, [July 19], and we hope that this positive start will bring relative calm, open an environment of coexistence between all the people of Sudan and a wider space of freedom of worship.”
His hope for the future is that the Church would “be allowed to evangelize freely in the urban streets and also in the countryside. Missionary work and Bible distribution have been greatly affected in the recent past. We are asking for more tolerance.”
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, stated, “This could very well be a historic change for the country of Sudan and for its suffering Christian population. Now that the deal has been signed, it is time for the people of Sudan to ensure that the freedoms that they are calling for guarantee freedom for all, and not just some. If the new constitution does not guarantee freedom of religion for all, removing sharia as the guiding force, I fear that Christians will continue to live under tyranny and persecution.”
SOURCE International Christian Concern