May 15, 2012
Security agents in Sudan's South Darfur state have closed down the Nyala offices of the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) and relief group Sudan Aid without explanation, Compass Direct News reports. Agents from the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) arrived at the organizations' compound in Nyala at 8 a.m. on April 22, ordering SCC staff members to hand over office keys and vehicles and telling them to leave immediately. Three staff members from Sudan Aid were arrested in the course of the closure and were taken to an undisclosed location. NISS agents also closed down a church clinic that was serving the needy in the area. The actions come as Christianity is increasingly regarded as a foreign faith to be excised from Sudan, which has begun transporting ethnic South Sudanese to South Sudan following the latter's recession last year. An estimated 350,000 ethnic South Sudanese, many of them Christian, remain in the Islamic north, with many never having lived anywhere else. Sources said the incident left churches in South Darfur -- one of five states that makes up the Darfur region -- deeply disturbed and frightened.