Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Coptic Priest Threatened with Death in Sudan – April 3rd

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, March 28, 2024

‘He threatened to shoot me if I did not accept Islam. I refused and said if God wants me to die by your bullet, His will is above us.’ 

These are the words of Father Arsenius, priest of the Al-Masalma Coptic Church in Omdurman, Sudan, which was attacked by RSF gunmen last May.

Moments before his life was threatened, the attackers had shot Father Arsenius’ son in front of him and threatened to do the same to him if he did not accept Islam. In a TV interview after he fled to Egypt he said: ‘My son was lying down in front of me and heavily bleeding. I rushed to help him and told them this is my son, but they did not allow me and threatened me to shoot him if I tried to help him.’

Thankfully, the attackers didn’t shoot Father Arsenius. His son was treated in hospital and has now recovered.

Sudan has been in a state of crisis since April 2023 when conflict broke out between two factions of the ruling military junta – the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) – days before they were due to merge as part of a planned transition to democracy.

In the year since then, it is Sudan’s civilians who have suffered the most, experiencing some of the gravest crimes under international law. Christians are particularly vulnerable, with reports of attacks on clergy, the bombing of churches by both warring parties, and the seizure of religious buildings for use as military bases.