Sudan

Destruction of the Catholic school, Jebel Hilla, near Khartoum

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This alert comes courtesy of South Sudan OnLine. South Sudan OnLine does not endorse the information, but does share it for informational purposes.
From: Cindy Browne <combonipn@igc.apc.org>
Subject: More trouble in Sudan
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Attached is a news release about last Saturday's destruction by the Sudanese government of the catholic school, Jebel Hilla, near Khartoum.

For Immediate Release

July 24, 1997

Contact: Fr. John B. Antonini/Comboni Press/Rome; Tel.: 011-39-06-5191224/ Fax: 011-39-06-5042125/E-mail: combpress@pcn.net, or Cindy Browne/CPN/Cincinnati; Tel.: (513) 474-4997/Fax: (513) 474-0382/E-mailcombonipn@igc.apc.org

Sudan: The Jebel Hilla Catholic School Destroyed

On July 19, the Catholic school, Jebel Hilla, at the Jebel Awlia resettlement camp, was razed to the ground by three bulldozers under the supervision of government authorities and under the protection of four truckloads of police and soldiers. The camp was the home to many southern Sudanese displaced by the war.

The school, on land belonging to the Archbishop of Khartoum, educated over 800 boys and girls from the shanty town located not far from the Jebel Awila Nile barrage, about 50 kilometers south of Khartoum. It operated under the supervision of the Ministry of Education with outstanding success. During the 1996-97 school year, it ranked first in the list of honor of the schools of the region. By the end of the "basic education course," (eighth grade), 94% of the boys and 91% of the girls who sat for the exams were awarded the national certificate.

During the 1997-98 school year, the Catholic Church had decided to
upgrade the premises of the school by substituting wooden and bamboo mat structures with permanent buildings. An application was submitted to the authorities for a building permit. The answer came under the form of the "destruction

team" that levelled to the ground even the makeshift classrooms of wood and bamboo mats that barely sheltered from the heat of the day, and not from the dust blowing in the desert area of the school compound. The razing took place just after noon, while some of the teachers were accepting the application of new students for the new school year.

Dr. Hassan Al Turabi, the mastermind behind the islamic government of Sudan, insists that "tolerance" is the attitude in the Sudan. Last April 14, the Archbishop of Khartoum, H.G. Gabriel Zubeir Wako addressed a letter to the Minister of Planning in Khartoum, accusing the authorities of implementing "some Government Policy, albeit undeclared, but nonetheless being executed, namely, to make the community expression of the Christian Faith extremely difficult, especially for Catholic Christians particularly by preventing them from having decent places of worship, and by destroying what temporary prayer places they have set up." The Archbishop asked that such a policy be discontinued. This further destruction of the "Jebel Hills" catholic school at Jebel Awlia proves that change has in no way taken effect in the anti-Christian policy pursued by Al Hurabi.