Christians in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains face hunger and persecution

The Nuba Christians in the state of South Kordofan in the south of Sudan are under attack from the Islamist-dominatedgovernment in Khartoum. They also have to contend with food shortages caused by flooding. CSI project manager Franco Majok visited the area in February and spoke with members of the community.

Mary Albasha Koko has experienced terrible times. She wistfully recalls the seven-year pause in fighting that followed the civil war that raged from 1983 to 2005.

This changed after 2011, when the Islamic government in Khartoum declared war against the Nuba people. “From 2011 to 2016 we were under constant bombardment. It felt like it wouldnever ended. Two of my relatives were killed. I fled to the mountains and hid in a cave for years,” says Mary, recounting the brutal attacks by the Sudanese military.

The attacks targeted churches and schools for destruction. “My church in the village of Tabania was razed to the ground. All the other buildings have also been destroyed.” Many people fled their village during those terrible years of war, she said. Mary does not know who among the displaced survived.

Last harvest destroyed

It is equally uncertain when the Sudanese military will next attack her village. The ceasefire that came into effect in 2016 is fragile and a peace agreement has never been signed.

But Mary, who lives with her family in a tiny house, has other worries: last year’s heavy rains destroyed her crops. “I have nothing left to feed my family. I need food so we have something to eat,” she says tearfully.

In August 2022, CSI distributed sorghum, a nutrient-rich millet, to families including Mary’s. This support meant a great deal to Mary. “I am very grateful. The supply lasted me and my family until October, after which we could feed ourselves from the new harvest.”

However, it rained heavily at the beginning of this year too, again destroying the harvest. Mary wonders whether she will be able to feed her family on wild fruits and vegetables. She hopes that CSI will help her again in this new time of shortage.

“God is with us”

Moses Suleiman also has terrible war memories. “We survived as a family only because we hid in the mountains for months,” he says. But despite all his precautions, his wife Kocana Abas was injured in a bombing raid. Luckily, she did not suffer any permanent damage.

Moses, who is also from Tabania, lives with his family in his elderly mother’s tiny house. The farmer and evangelist has an impressive faith: “Nothing will stop me from holding on to Christ. If the Islamic government of Sudan thinks it can use force to make us abandon Christianity, it’s wrong.”

The destruction of their church building has made the Christian community in Tabania even more united in their faith. Moses Sulieman is convinced, “God is with us.”

The father of four also thanks God for the food he received from CSI nearly two years ago when his crops were destroyed by floods. This enabled his family to survive until the next harvest. Now that his fields have been flooded again, Moses desperately needs food for his family. “I am happy and relieved that CSI has sent someone to our village to learn more about our difficult situation,” he says.