DAILY CATHOLIC     MONDAY     February 22, 1999     vol. 10, no. 36

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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THOUSANDS OF SUDANESE CATHOLICS FORCED INTO DESERT

          KHARTOUM (CWNews.com/Fides) - Tens of thousands of Catholics who had built a village on the outskirts of Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan, have been forced back into the desert by the Muslim government, according to a report this week.

          At least 150,000 to 200,000 people, mainly Christians, had taken refuge in the Hajj Youssef district just outside the city, as they fled the civil war in southern Sudan. The government had done nothing to provide these refugees with some sort of shelter or assistance, sources said.

          Hajj Youssef village was built entirely by the refugees themselves, first with shacks built of mud and straw and then, when it was possible, the huts were replaced with brick homes. They had also set up a private, rudimentary bus service so the men could ride into the city and find work. Wells had been dug and some earned a little money delivering water to the shacks and huts. The Catholic Church had opened a center which fed some of the children, orphans in particular, and there were catechism classes and celebrations of Mass, since most were Catholic. At least 10,000 children attended the Archdiocese of Khartoum's Catholic schools.

          But the municipal authorities intervened with their town planning system, labeling the village a non-stable settlement of refugees. The people of Hajj Youssef were forced to evacuate their huts, and were "pushed out into the desert," sources said. The government said the area had been marked for some new industries. The refugees were made to move back ten kilometers beyond a strip of total desert. The only service provided by the municipality was free transport for the people and their few belongings.


Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales. Both CWN and NE are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

February 22, 1999       volume 10, no. 36
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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