Catholic Mission in Sudan Turned into an Islamic Military Post

Witness Says Church Desecrated

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KAPOETA, Sudan, JULY 8, 2002 ( Muslim troops have razed a Catholic mission near here, using its church altar as a kitchen and its bricks to build mosques and military fortifications, a witness reported.

«The mission of Our Lady of Sorrows in Kapoeta, a beautiful church, has been reduced to its foundations,» Torit Diocese spokesman Gervasius Okot told the Misna missionary agency.

Okot inspected this town in the Eastern Equatorial region of war-torn southern Sudan last Thursday.

The Sudanese People’s Liberation Army, which has been battling the forces of the Khartoum government, captured the city on June 9. The National Islamic Front has since seized the mission property, located about 3 kilometers from Kapoeta.

«The Sudanese government deliberately transformed the church into the military command of the Kapoeta region, from where it implements all the secret plans of the National Islamic Front,» Okot said. «It is one of the advance posts frequently used by President Omar Hassan el-Bashir as a residence.»

«From there, general El Bashir prays to Allah in the mosque built with the bricks of the demolished church,» the Catholic spokesman added. «The president also meets there with senior officers to plan the strategies of a war carried out through murders, tortures, Islamization and ‘Arabization’ of the so-called ‘abid,'» or slave.

The mission parish had been founded by the Comboni missionaries in 1935, Okot added. The mission’s structure was kept intact for over 10 years, but now it is deserted, he said.

«The only thing of the sacred place that is still standing is the area of the altar and tabernacle, but they have been used for a long time for activities that it is best not to mention,» he said. «Cooking has also been done there. There are cigarettes and burnt wood on the floor. On the altar there are all kinds of insults against Christians written in Arabic.»

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