On 23 March 2009, two churches in Shatt Damman, a small village in the Nuba Mountains of North Sudan were burnt to the ground. Tensions between Christians and Muslims in the area are running high. A number of Christians have vowed revenge. It is widely believed that the so-called ‘Amir of Shatt Damman’ is behind the violence against the Christians.
The amir is known for his hard-line Islamic views. He is the leader of the Popular Defence Force (PDF) in the area.
The PDF is a militia group with roots in the the Islamist movement of Hassan Al Turabi. Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005, the future of the PDF, and its relationship with the regular armed forces, has been contested. Still described as a force of mujahideen (fighters of the holy war), the PDF has continued to exist as a military and civilian network to mobilize militia auxiliaries throughout Sudan; it currently has active units in Darfur and the Transitional Areas, which include Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Abyei.
From our sources in Sudan