“The placement of the civil government to try to please the people and the world has failed,” John*, a Gospel worker focused on Sudan, says.
Sudan instituted a transitional committee of civilian and military leaders in 2019 following the overthrow of long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir. However, as described here, the system – originally intended to facilitate change – was doomed from the beginning.
“The way that [Sudanese Christians] put it is even though the people in charge have changed clothes, they haven’t changed their heart,” John says.
More unrest and uncertainty
In October, a military coup removed civilian officials, including Prime Minister Hamdok, from power. Widespread unrest and international pressure prompted the military to reinstate Hamdok last month. Citing ongoing division between military and civilian officials, Hamdok stepped down following a televised address.
“From what I heard yesterday, [from] those I spoke to in Sudan, he (Hamdok) has left the country,” John says.
Western powers warn Sudan’s military against appointing a new government without civilian leaders. Some analysts argue that now is the time for action, not just threats. A mediator in Sudan tells Reuters:
“The military will name a government unless the civilians get it together and meet with them. I think in the end people will sit together, and go back to the constitutional declaration, and see how they can adjust it.”
John points to Sudan’s violent past to indicate what the next few weeks could contain under military rule. “[Look] at history and [Sudan’s] 20-plus years of war, trying to impose Islam on the south; ethnic massacres continue to take place,” he says.
“The (Sudanese) people know real change has not been made and will not be made unless something new happens.”
The Body of Christ in Sudan is not only persecuted under Islamic rulers, it is highly divided. Pray for a spirit of unity among believers.
“The Church needs to come together. They need to pray together again,” John says.
“The cost of being the Church and fulfilling the biblical role of the Church in the context of Sudan has been, is, and will be high. For the Church to fulfill its role, there have to be leaders who are willing to pay that price. So pray for them.”
Header image depicts former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok meeting with USAID’s Mark Green in December 2019. (Wikimedia Commons)