Sudanese authorities have detained a shipment of Bibles for more than two years without explanation.
The container full of Arabic Bibles has been kept at Port Sudan, according to Morning Star News. Another container of Bibles was released after appeals to the port authorities.
A Bible Society in Sudan representative told Morning Star News the Bibles were destined for the capital, Khartoum, where the society does not have a single copy of an Arabic Bible available. Other shipments have been detained over the last two years as well, he said.
However, he said a port official had appeared more willing to consider releasing the shipment recently. Local Christian leaders have speculated that the lifting of sanctions on Sudan by the US on October 12 might have resulted in a change of tone.
Other international Bible providers have also complained of Sudan detaining shipping containers full of Bibles – usually due to corruption, but in some cases also to keep Judeo-Christian scripture out of the country, according to Morning Star News.
The government of President Omar al-Bashir has adopted a strict version of sharia. Churches have been demolished and pastors arrested, and the government announced in April 2013 that no new licences would be granted for building new churches as the Christian population had decreased following the secession of the mainly Christian South Sudan.
Sudan ranked fifth on theOpen Doors' 2017 World Watch List of countries where Christians face most persecution.