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Sudan: priests kidnapped, tensions grow

Catholic World News - January 18, 2012

The kidnapping of two Catholic priests--a crime with distinct political overtones--has increased fears for the Christian religious minority in Sudan.

Father Joseph Makwey and Father Sylvester Mogga were seized on January 15 by a militia band that broke into their parish compound in Rabak, south of the capital city of Khartoum. The armed men ransacked the rectory, stealing computers and other valuables.

According to the Fides news service, the kidnappers charged that the parish was harboring a former member of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army, the group that fought successfully for the independence of South Sudan. Christians in Sudan report that since South Sudan became a separate nation, former residents of that nation have encountered severe hostility--and sometimes violence and intimidation--in the north.

Bishop Daniel Adwok, an auxiliary of the Khartoum archdiocese, criticized the government for its failure to protect citizens from militia violence. Saying that the kidnapping of the two priests was not an isolated incident, he said that "the authorities must be called to account for what it going on."

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