Christianity and Non-Arab Cultures in Danger at Sudan

منظمة حقوق الإنسان والتنميه

Human Rights and Development Organization

(HUDO)


 

 

Christianity and Non-Arab Cultures in Danger at Sudan

 

Since the beginning of this year 2013 the security agencies (NISS) in Sudan have been targeting the Christian-Nubian group. However, the Nubian cultural, heritage centres and Christians bodies had been effected most. Below there are detailed information about some targeted centres.      

 

KUKU Centre for Culture & Heritage (KUCCH)

 

Background: Kuku Centre for Culture & Heritage (KUCCH) was established in 1993 by Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) which was working under the auspices of the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS).

By that time the Centre was called Sudan Local Languages Centre (SLLC).

Location: The Centre is located in Omdurman Town, Close to the Evangelical Church and opposite the Traffic Police Office.

Purpose: The Centre was established in order to help the people from Nuba Mountains to write their languages and develop the languages that had been already written many years ago since 1930 (eg. Moro language). And also to preserve language and culture of the people on Nuba Mountains in addition to conduct some linguistic and analysis researches on Nuba Mountain languages.

Language Groups: Above (60) Languages of Nuba Mountains had been registered in the Centre during the establishment. The Nuba Languages had been categorized according to the Language groups (g.) e.g:

  1. Heiban g.: Tira, Heiban, Moro, Otoro, Shawaya, Laro.
  2. Kwalib g. : Kwalib, Hadra, Mehetan.
  3. Talodi g. : Achroon, Lumun, Tumtum, Liri, Talodi, Thakik, Chaning etc.
  4. Kadogli g.: Kdugli, Kufa, Kanga, Kamda, Damba, Miri, Kurungu, Katcha,                       Dloka, Keiga, Damik, Tulushi, Kamda, Lafufa, Tese.
  5. Ajang g. :       Karko, Fanda, Kasha, Mandal, Kudur, Gholfan, Kujuria, Tabag,                   
  6. Dajo g. :       Lagori, Dajo in Nuba Mountains.
  7. Ama g.     : Ama or Nyimang.

Note: There are other groups not included.

In addition languages from:

  1. Blue Nile ; Gamag, Broon, Angasana.
  2. Darfur     ; Fur, Masalit and Dajo of Darfur region.

Activities: The SIL offered training, seminars, capacity building for both youth and adults lectures and workshops in the field of linguistics and cultural studies, teaching classes to practice the languages, writing languages (Orthography), literacy programmes for the groups.

Challenges: But not all of those language groups maintained and continued writing or developing their languages due to many challenges they experienced e.g lack of financial support, linguistic experience and experts, atmosphere (where they could work), cultural invasion and un fair political practices.

Unfortunately in 1998 the SIL group decided to leave the Centre, and by then there was no any kind of support given to the Centre although it was doing a great job to the people of Nuba Mountains in the field of cultural preservation.

Due to that, most of the language groups left the work and a few of them maintained the work by their communities support e.g Moro, Tira, Ama, Lumun, Tocho languages.

Registration: Since that time, the Centre had been working and was not officially registered in the Federal Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Social Welfare or elsewhere.

But in 2012 a small number of the members sat down and agreed to register the Centre in the Federal Ministry of Culture.

Many meetings had been conducted and about twenty language groups (Nuba Mountains Tribes) attended the general assembly in the presence of a representative from the Federal Ministry of Culture who approved the registration and was officially registered under the names “Kuku Centre for Culture and Heritage”. That was on 19.Dec.2012.

NINU Centre

 

The NINU Centre is registered in the National Federation for UNESCO Clubs which is a governmental and National body representing UNESCO Clubs in Sudan. It's teaching English language and computer sciences.

Closing Up of the two Centres

On Tue. 15.1.2013 at 6:00 pm while the Moro literacy programme was running, three security agents came in and asked the guard about the general manager of the Centre ( Mr. Philip), he pointed and directed them to him. Then the manager welcomed them in his office . They told him that they have come to close up the Centre and he asked them, which one do you want to close Kuku Centre or NINU Centre for Languages & Computer Sciences? And why?

The security agent replied; because it has no registration certificate nor any written signal outside which is showing what it is. He told them that there are two different activities here. Kuku Cultural Centre which is a cultural Centre and NINU Centre which is teaching English and Computer courses, and all are registered.

Then they asked him to present the registration certificates and stamps for both Centres. He showed them all that asked for, then they asked about the types of certificates offered to the students.

The manager gave them the students certificates and after they looked at it, they told the manager that well, let us go to our office for some interrogations after you can come back. They asked the manager to come with his laptop, the documents of the Centre and two (2) students’ certificates. The manager closed the office and they guarded him carefully while closing.

 

When they went out of the office, on the street there were two pick-up vehicles model 2000, in one of them there was a gentleman known to the manager, (he’s from same manager tribe - Nuba / Moro) and his name is “Fauzi Osman, he’s a teacher in one of the Church Schools” called Al Rahma Basic School”. They asked the manager whether he knew him? The manager replied yes!

One of the pick-ups left with one man when manager boarded one of them. The two vehicles drove to Khartoum and they stopped at office close to the presidential palace, they exchanged the cars and the security man asked the manager to come in front and Fauzi was behind alone. They set off again and then the guard started to ask him many questions like where he is from? Married or not?, Educational background, his religion, culture, birth, when did he came to Khartoum, residence in Khartoum.

They arrived Almashtal Security Unit in Reyad town about 7;30 pm, they were took him to the reception. At about 10:00 pm the same person came and took the laptop, then later he came to take the cell phone.

The manager was kept till 2:30am, then they called him for the first interrogation in the security office. He was led by a soldier with a gun. He was asked the same questions by the same person, and he also checked the manager's whole body with his hands. Finally he gave him the phone to call his family. Then they set them free to go and report again at 10 am on 16.Jan.2013. From then he continued reporting on daily basis, after three days once a week. Then since 11.Feb.2013 he has not been there but his belongings are still with them. (laptop + documents).

 

Muhabba Centres fo Street Children (MCC)

This is another sample of centres that had been targeted.

On 24th Jan 2013 in the evening between 5 – 6 o’clock the NISS soldiers came at once to two MCC centres (Omdurman and Gereif/Khartoum) and arrested some of the teachers who were on duty in those centres.

 

Muhabba Omdurman Centre

 

  1. Wahiba Kunda – headmistress - Christian (female) – Nuba Kawalib.
  2. Al Kheir Alaazar – teacher (Christian) – Nuba Moro.
  3. Ez eldeen Dungus – teacher (Christian) – Nuba Kawalib.

Note: Some of the lucky teachers had left the centre earlier after their duty was over.

They also investigated the children in the centre. They asked them from where did they come from, who brought them and why. They also asked the children about what kind of education they receive?

 

Muhabba Gereif/Khartoum Centre

 

  1. Aida Al Nour – headmistress – Christian (female) – Nuba Kawalib.
  2. John Kodi – Christian – teacher - Nuba Heiban.
  3. Sabri Mohammed – Christian – Nuba Kawalib.
  4. Julious James – Christian – mechanic – Southern Sudanese

Later on 30thJan 2013 the general manager of Muhabba Centres for Street Children (MCC) Mrs. Istir Badur Kuku was asked to present herself to the security office. She went through many interviews about nine interviews and she is still reporting and being interviewed by different officers on different issues. For example, about the centre, personal information, political activities, type of education given to children, accounts in the bank, other women activities in MCC centres, the role of the church and the relationship between MCC and the Evangelical Church and any other foreign organizations, internal and external donors, the administration, contracts of employees, assets e.t.c.

The teachers are not reporting any more but their belongings like Mobile phones, money, ID cards are still kept by NISS . They can’t ask about them . They think if they tried and ask, they may open another window for investigation. So they wait until they are invited to go and take their belongings but they are not sure whether they will have them back or not.

These days in Sudan, to be Nubian is an accusation, and over that to be Christian is disaster. Now the NISS authorities Islamizing the Christians under forces, some of them obeyed (HUDO had name of priest declared his Islam under threat). This action created lost of trust and confidentiality among them.

HUDO is seeking more focus by national, international NGOs and Christians, Muslims bodies, so as to give protection for them and Christianity in Sudan. This can be by advocacy campaigns and submitting letters to president through effective western embassies in Sudan.      

 

 

HUDO

29th March 2013