SUDAN: Rockets Hit Cathedral, Priests’ Residence as Fighting Rages in Khartoum

By Paschal Norbert  

EL OBEID, APRIL 25, 2023 (CISA)- As fighting intensifies in Sudan between the Sudanese Army Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the Sudan and South Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SSSCBC) has reported that two rockets have hit a priests’ house and the Cathedral of Mary Queen of Africa in the Catholic Diocese of El Obeid on April 20.

In an interview with the Catholic Radio Network (CRN) of South Sudan, Fr Peter Suleiman, Secretary-General of SSSCBC said the first rocket hit part of the priest’s house and the second rocket blasted at the front gate of the Cathedral Church which led to shuttering of glasses.

“Two rockets landed in the premises, one hit the residence of the priest where Fr Michael Konji is living. We thank God that he was not in the room at that time, because the room is completely damaged, and the other rocket bullet hit in front of the main gate of the Cathedral and it has affected the building and resulted to the damage of the glasses,” said Fr Suleiman.

According to Fr Suleiman, at the time of the incident Bishop Yunan Tombe Trille Kuku of El Obeid, the priests and some sisters were adoring the Blessed Sacrament in the Church and were not harmed.

“We thank God that they are safe, only the general situation where people are lacking food, water, and no access to electricity in the town,” he clarified.

In the interview, he says Bishop Tombe Trille and some priests are still staying put at their residences in El Obeid and only some sisters who stay close to an army barracks have been evacuated to different safe locations.

“As far as I know, the sisters in Saint Francis School are the ones who are close to the military barracks, so they were asked to evacuate or to move to a different location where it’s a bit safe. But otherwise in general all the Church personnel are in their places,” said Fr Suleiman.

The secretary-general is also worried that the conflict in Sudan has already claimed critical infrastructure in the country and is steadily destroying its identity, which will be difficult to rebuild. He says the Church is adding “her voice with the rest of people in seeking peace so that the two warring parties stop fighting and dialogue.”

“It happens that a lot of infrastructure has been destroyed, and these are historical buildings that give meaning to the country, especially the barracks and the presidential palaces; the symbols of a country destroyed. These will cause a lot of energy to rebuild.”