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By BosNewsLife Africa Service

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Mariam Yehya Ibrahim, a Christian mother of two, refused to renounce her faith and was sentenced to death befere being reunited with her husband after outcry.



KHARTOUM, SUDAN (BosNewsLife)-- Christians in Sudan have mourned those killed in air raids by government forces, while believers in the country's capital were without a church Monday, July 7, after Sudanese authorities demolished the building.

At least 10 Christians were killed over the last two months in the country's Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan state, including four children and an elderly woman, Christians said Monday, July 7.

Aid groups have accused the Islamic government of trying to rid the country of Christians, mostly black ethnic Nuba, as part of efforts to turn the African nation into a pure Arabic and Islamic state.

News of the ongoing violence came while in Khartoum, Christians were left with rubble of the building that housed their Church of Christ congregation in North Khartoum area.

A Sudanese government force destroyed the church last week Monday, July 7, ignoring an appeal by the church's pastor to delay the demolition until after the rainy season.

"SHANTY CONSTRUCTION"

The church, which boasted 600 congregants, was destroyed for its "shanty" construction, officials.

However Christians point out that a similarly constructed mosque that shares the same land plot as the church remains unharmed.

Other churches, Christian schools and training centers have been forcibly closed and demolished by the reigning regime, which came to power in a 1989 military coup, activists and local Christians said.

The attack came a day after authorities sent a letter saying they would demolish the church, Pastor Kuoa Shimal said.

Government sources were not immediately available for comment.

STRONG FORCE

The 70-strong force Monday arrived at the Alizba slums near the capital, Khartoum, around 10 a.m., some dressed in plain clothes, witnesses said.

In April 2013, the Sudanese minister of religious affairs announced that no licenses would be granted to allow for the building of new churches -- less than two years after the predominantly Christian South Sudan seceded to form an independent country.

During a brief territorial war between Sudan and South Sudan in April 2012, a mob of Islamist extremists attacked and destroyed a church west of Khartoum despite a police cordon around it, the Cable News Network (CNN) reported.

"The church is now contaminated with terror. You don't feel safe in prayer," one Christian activist said, who asked not to be identified.

Complaints about the predominantly Muslim country's perceived lack of religious freedom made global headlines after Mariam Yehya Ibrahim, a Christian mother of two, refused to renounce her faith and was sentenced to death. After an international outcry, she was freed and reunited with her American husband.

(BosNewsLife (2004-2014) is the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians. It has been 'Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals' since May 2004).

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