KHARTOUM, SUDAN (Worthy News)– Christians in Sudan were among thousands of refugees Wednesday, May 25, amid several attacks against them and fears of a new civil war between the Arab-dominated north and the Christian-animist south, which voted overwhelmingly to secede in a January referendum.
Hundreds of people have been killed in clashes over the last few weeks as the south, still reeling from the previous civil war with only 50 miles (80 kilometers) of tarred road, moves towards formal statehood on July 9.
Thousand of civilians have been displaced following the occupation of Abyei Town by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) last weekend the weekend, aid workers said, with reports that 20,000 desperate people fled across the river Kiir, and are sheltering under trees from rain.
Oil-rich Abyei is a disputed region, with both northern Sudan and newly-formed South Sudan claiming the area.
Many civilians, including Christians, are thought to have died in indiscriminate bombing of the Abyei area since Friday, May 20, when the northern army attacked with long range artillery shells and Antonov aircraft, hitting several civilian areas, rights investigators said.
Advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said it received reports of at least one case in which a child was so terrified by the bombing that she ran into the bush and has now disappeared.
Amid the confusion, Christian refugees have been attacked by Islamic forces incuding in Darfur Region in northwestern Sudan where evangelist Hawa Abdalla Muhammad Saleh was reportedly detained on May 9.
Authorities have accused her of owning and distributing Bibles to others in the Abu Shouk camp for Internally Displaced Persons in Al-Fashir, capital of North Darfur state, Christians said.
The evangelist was reportedly moved to the capital Khartoum by security agents and could be tried for apostasy, which carries the death sentence in northern Sudan, according to Christians with closeknowledge about the situation. She was allegedly already tortured for six days in 2009.
Elsewhere in Khartoum, a Christian mother of a 2-month-old baby was recovering of her injuries Wednesday, May 25, and remained destitute after she and her husband were attacked for leaving Islam for Christianity.
Omar Hassan and Amouna Ahamdi, both 27, said knife-wielding, masked assailants on May 4 attacked them after relatives learned that they had converted from Islam to Christianity.
Hassan told Compass Direct News agency that he and his wife were renting a house from her uncle in Khartoum, but he ordered them to leave after learning they had left Islam.
They earlier fled Nyala, 120 kilometers (75 miles) southwest of El-Fashir, for Khartoum in June 2010. In the latest attack, a knife pierced the palm of Ahamdi, who said her brother had already stabbed her three times in the stomach nine months ago, seriously injuring her spleen, aafter she told him she had become a Christian.
In the violent outburst, her brother reportedly also broke her left leg. She was rushed to a local hospital, where personnel were allegedly reluctant to treat her because of her conversion.
There have been calls for the United Nations to increase protection of Christians and other civilians at a time when extremists and other forces are misusing the fragile security situation and army attacks continue.