Khartoum cathedral attacked in coup battle

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The Anglican Cathedral in Khartoum came under attack on Monday evening 17 April 2023, the Most Rev. Ezekiel Kondo reports, as elements of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Force (RSF) clashed in a bid for control of the capital.

The fighting between the SAF, led by Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, and the RSF headed by Lt Gen Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, has been characterized by the military government as an attempted coup by the RSF. 

On Saturday fierce fighting between the factions took place at the presidential palace, the Khartoum airport, and the city television broadcasting center. On Sunday the fighting spread to the Merowe airbase in the north, and has been reported in Omduraman, North Darfur, and Port Sudan. The UN mission in Sudan reported that as ot Tuesday there were 270 killed and approximately 2700 wounded by the fighting.

The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Rev Nick Baines, wrote on 18 April 2023 he had been in contact with the primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, Archbishop Kondo, who had texted that morning to say the cathedral compound had been raided the previous night, “and their cars destroyed using firearms”. 

The Diocese of Leeds published a note on its website stating: “The Archbishop of Sudan, Ezekiel Kondo, in an email to the diocese recounted how, ‘an exchange of fires intensified and armed Forces entered the Cathedral premises and began to break cars with guns’.”

“’Continue to pray for us and our safety’,” the archbishop’s said.

On Sunday, Pope Francis prayed that “arms may be laid down and that dialogue may prevail, so that together, they are able to return to the path of peace and concord”.

The chairman of GAFCON, the Most Rev. Foley Beach on Sunday released a statement urging prayer for the beleaguered nation. “I am deeply concerned by the news coming out of Sudan that a civil war has broken out between the Military leadership and the Rapid Defense Force. Please join me in praying for the nation of Sudan, for its leaders and people. Please also join me in praying for the protection of the Church of Sudan. We pray that peace will soon be restored and that the Lord will comfort those who have lost loved ones in the current conflict

The Archbishop of Canterbury also posted a message on Twitter on Monday writing: “We hold the nation of Sudan in our prayers at this time. Lord God, protect the civilians, bring peace to this appalling crisis in the nation’s life, and allow political stability to return.”