Sudanese government arrests church's leaders in attempt to take over denomination

A Christian church in SudanReuters

Observers fear a campaign is being made by the Sudanese government to take country of the country's churches as Sudanese police detain eight church leaders in the last six weeks.

Mahjob Abotrin, a senior leader within the Sudan Church of Christ (SCOC), was arrested on 22 September. He was interrogated and has since been released. But it is not known whether he has been charged with any offence.

According to World Watch Monitor, he was arrested because he refused let government-appointed officials take over leadership of the denomination. The Sudanese government has been trying to manage the affairs of several denominations in the country by removing the church-appointed leadership.

Last month security officials told four other members of SCOC's leadership committee that charges would be brought against them after they refused to let government officials take over the premises of the Church's office.

In August, seven senior SCOC leaders were arrested and interrogated before being released on bail. Included among these was Kuwa Shamal, the Church's head of missions. He was previously detained in December 2015 until January this year when he was released because of a lack of evidence. Two others arrested with him were released in May.

Christians in Sudan are facing a prolonged campaign of intimidation waged by the government, which has included the confiscation of their properties.

The persecution of Christians in the country has increased since the Christian-majority south seceded from the Muslim-majority north in 2011.