By BosNewsLife Africa Service
KHARTOUM, SUDAN (BosNewsLife)– Christians say authorities in Sudan have detained the second pastor of South Sudanese descent in less than three weeks in the capital.
Sudan’s National Security and Intelligence Services (NISS) reportedly arrested Reverend David Yein Reith of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church on January 9 while he returned to his home at the Gerif West Bible School in Khartoum from a prayer meeting.
Reith received a phone call earlier that day from someone threatening to “arrest” his wife and 1-year-old son if he failed to go to his home immediately, Christians said.
“We will arrest your entire family should you fail to come home as soon as possible,” the caller told the pastor, according to a source cited by Christian news agency Morning Star News.
The pastor’s wife says NISS officials have refused to reveal the charges against him. “We are still interrogating him; he is in custody,” she quoted one NISS official as saying.
This was no isolated incident.
Last month officials detained a visiting South Sudanese pastor from Juba, Reverend Yat Michael, after Sunday worship at Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church on December 21, Christians said.
He was still in custody, Tuesday, January 20. His family has not been allowed to see him, his wife said.
Christians say the Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church that Pastor Michael was visiting is a
Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC)-congregation which has faced harassment, arrests and demolition of part of its worship center. Muslim investors seek to take it over.
Security forces reportedly raided the Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church December 2, detaining at least 37 people who were praying inside, and began to destroy the building, BosNewsLife reported earlier.
The detained 15 women and 22 men were charged with “breach of the peace, public nuisance and obstruction of a public servant during the course of his duty”, supporters told BosNewsLife.
While they have been released, tensions remain since Sudan’s government reiterated its policy of not allowing new church buildings to be built.
Christians and rights activists say the attacks on churches have extended to the Nuba Mountains where the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have been at war with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North since 2011.
In October last year the SAF dropped four bombs on the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) compound in
Al Atmor, South Kordofan, destroying the church, a house and adjoining properties.