A church pastor and three other Christians were killed in Sudan on Monday (Jan. 23) when suspected Islamic extremists shot them to death, Morning Start News reported.
Four of the victims’ traveling companions were wounded when the assailants opened fire on the team at the facility where they were spending the night in Kadugli, capital of Sudan’s South Kordofan State.
Sudanese-American Pastor Ibrahim Kandr, Ismail Osman, Bashir Almaak and Ayoub Ibrahim were spending the night in Kadugli en route to their home area of Um Durein when the assailants shot them, an area church leader said.
Islamic extremists who have been terrorizing people in the area since 2011 monitor movements in and out of town and likely saw the ministry team arrive for the night, said the church leader, whose name is withheld for security reasons.
Following two years of advances in religious freedom in Sudan after the end of the Islamist dictatorship under Omar al-Bashir in 2019, the specter of state-sponsored persecution returned with the military coup of Oct. 25, 2021.
The Christian population of Sudan is estimated at 2 million, or 4.5 percent of the total population of more than 43 million.
In Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Sudan was ranked No. 10, up from No. 13 the previous year, as attacks by non-state actors continued and religious freedom reforms at the national level were not enacted locally.