Amid Snipers and Shelling, Sudanese Christians Standing Firm for Christ

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Ruth Foster

On April 15, 2023, fighting broke out between two warring Islamist factions in Khartoum, Sudan. Since then, Christians and non-Christians alike have suffered extreme hardship, difficulty and terror as the battle between the two factions continues.

But Christians have been uniquely targeted in the ongoing conflict.

“There is a lot of opportunistic killing and targeting of Christians,” said Brad Phillips, founder and president of Persecution Project Foundation (PPF), who has been working in Sudan since 1997. “We have seen attacks on different churches … [and] … an uptick in assassinations by snipers. They know where Christians are living in certain communities; when they are coming out of their homes, they are being killed by snipers. … There are two million or more Christians in war-affected areas of Sudan that are trying to figure out how they can survive where they are or how they can get somewhere to safety.”

For nearly 50 years, Islamist leaders in Sudan have conducted a brutal campaign to Islamize the nation, destroying churches and imprisoning Christians while seeking to implement strict adherence to Islamic law. In 2019, the Islamist dictator and convicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir, who led Sudan’s assault on Christians, was removed from power by a military council controlled by the country’s Islamist establishment. Some hoped this would lead to greater freedom to follow Christ for our Sudanese brothers and sisters.


“[When Bashir was removed from power], that sounded like really good news,” Phillips said. “Everybody celebrated, everybody was hopeful that change was coming. Unfortunately, the two individuals who replaced him were cut from the same bolt of cloth, so to speak, as Bashir.”

As promises of greater religious freedom failed to materialize, contention between the ruling parties heightened, leading to the outbreak of fighting earlier this year. For our Sudanese brothers and sisters in Christ, war has made life even more difficult as they try to survive the fighting and find food and shelter while still facing persecution for their faith in Christ.

Yet even as our persecuted Christian family members have experienced tremendous loss in the conflict, they have risked their lives to serve others in this season of upheaval and need.

“We have stories from our community, from our church of people, that are actively going down and looking for people that they know … and bringing them food, bringing them medicine, bringing them water, getting them bus fare to get to the bus,” Phillips shared. “One of the pastors that we work with, his nephew … was helping rescue other people and he went out looking for the resources to help … and he was shot by a sniper.”


While some are risking their lives to stay and help, others are fleeing to the Nuba Mountains—a location which has historically been a site of great persecution and repeated bombings by the Sudanese military.

As our Sudanese brothers and sisters continue to follow Christ amid this ongoing dangerous situation, Phillips shared that Christians around the world can support them in prayer. “Remember that we have members of our [Christian] family that are trapped in Sudan,” Phillips said. “We have members of our family that are facing extreme hardship … [and] incredible odds, many of whom who will not survive today or tomorrow. But, all of whom are encouraged by the prayers and intercession and the solidarity with the church outside.”

Ruth Foster is a staff writer for Voices of the Martyrs.


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