Thursday, April 19, 2012

Christians In Peril As Sudan And South Sudan Head Towards War

When Southern Sudan (populated with mainly our brethren in Christ and animists) seceded from the North on July 9, 2011, it was thought this would herald an era of peace for the south that was never seen. However as we see in this article such has not been the case.

04/16/2012 South Sudan (ANS)-The threat of an all-out war between Sudan and South Sudan is mounting amid intensifying fighting in the disputed border region, putting Christians in both nations in great danger.
Barnabas Fund, based in the UK says that Fierce clashes in the oil-rich territory over the last three weeks have been described as the worst fighting since South Sudan gained independence in July 2011.

The UN Security Council last week expressed its “deep and growing alarm” over the “escalating conflict”, and said that the situation threatened to return the countries to full-scale war. Sudan, which has been indiscriminately dropping bombs in the border regions and the South for almost a year, said that if Southern troops do not comply with a UN order to withdraw from the Heglig oilfields, Khartoum “will chase them out” and “hit deep inside South Sudan”.

“The tensions threaten a return to the deadly civil war that devastated the South and left more than two million people, mainly Southern Christians, dead,” said a Barnabas Fund spokesperson.

“The independence of South Sudan was meant to herald a new dawn of peace, but a number of serious issues between the two countries remain unresolved, including disputed border territory, oil revenue and citizenship rights.”

The spokesperson went on to say that the hostility between the two nations has left people of Southern origin, who are mainly Christian and mainly African, in the overwhelmingly Muslim and Arab Republic of Sudan in a state of limbo and increasing danger. They were stripped of their citizenship of Sudan after the South voted to secede in January 2011 and given until 8 April to sort out their papers. That deadline has now passed, and, treated as foreigners in Sudan, they have been denied work permits, while South Sudan has not yet started issuing identity documents. Thus they have been left without an official nationality.

A deal that would have given citizens of both countries key rights – to live, work and own property – in the other state has stalled, and there is little hope of further progress; a planned summit between the two presidents at the beginning of April was called off because of the violence in the border region.

A mother and child trying to shelter from the possible upcoming all-out war
“Thousands of people are consequently living rough, hundreds of them on wasteland around Khartoum, having had to give up their homes; many do not have the money and resources to transport their families and possessions to South Sudan. Around three-quarters of them are Christians,” said the Barnabas Fund spokesperson.

One community leader said: “We’ve been out of our homes for three months. We’re going to South Sudan, but we need the help of the two governments to return to our country. The people here are very tired. The men have no work, no food; that is our situation(Source).”

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