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ICC Note: A Church in Sudan, which was closed four years ago by the government, has been allowed to reopen. There was no reason given as to why the church was given its freedom, but the church leaders believe foreign pressures may have played a role.

07/16/2018 Sudan (Morningstar News) – Authorities in Khartoum, Sudan have handed back a church building that they had padlocked four years ago and threatened to seize, Christian leaders said.

A Sudanese church leader involved in the return of the Khartoum Christian Center building, owned by the Sudan Pentecostal Church (SPC), told Morning Star News that national security officials called him and other church members and returned it to them last month. Amid a wave of church closures and expulsions of South Sudanese Christians, Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) had closed the church in August 2014.

Government officials had said they closed the church building, which served as a worship venue for 20 years, because it was on land designated for office space. Though government officials stated that the closure was temporary, they gave no timeline, and church members feared the government would sell it. The government notified SPC leaders of the 500-member church that they should look for another place of worship since the space was designated for offices, an SPC leader told Morning Star News at the time.

The government gave no reason for returning the property to the church, but Christian leaders said they suspect foreign pressure played a key role. Morning Star News broke news of the church closure in early September 2014.

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For interviews with Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]