The Worlds Newest Nation of South Sudan to Emerge July 9 Amid Violence
Earlier this year, the people South Sudan voted overwhelmingly to secede from the north and establish a new nation. The day of independence is slated to occur on July 9, but tensions are escalating in border areas and an important disputed boundary has yet to be established. In Kadugli, Southern Kordofan state, armed conflict broke out on June 6 between southern and northern militaries after northern forces seized oil rich Abyei last month. The referendum to officially determine whether Abyei will be in the North or the South has not been established.
To escape the conflict and violence an estimated two-thirds of the population of Kadugli has fled to the Nuba Mountains. But, instead of finding safety, the refugees are being hunted down in what is feared to become a humanitarian crisis harkening back to the civil war that ended with the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is appealing to authorities to allow air and road access for humanitarian agencies trying to help thousands of people who have been uprooted by fighting between forces of North and South Sudan.
While it is not contested that Southern Kordofan state is part of North Sudan, many Christians in the area sympathize politically with South Sudan. To add to the already tense situation on Sunday (June 12), according to Compass News, North Kordofan Gov. Mutasim Mirghani Zaki El-deen declared jihad (holy war) on the Nuba people, most of whom are Christians. According to an Open Doors report, Christians there said they are still traumatized as a result of the atrocities committed against them by Sudan security forces and militias loyal to the government military. Sources in Sudan said Christians are calling their brothers and sisters worldwide to pray for the crisis in South Kordofan.
“The situation is critical – we need other Christians to fast and pray for us,” said one source.
Father, more than two thousand years ago, You sent Philip to lead the Ethiopian man to saving faith and thus sent the gospel down to Africa. Thank you for the many believers there and we call on You to both protect Your church and to extend their witness in the midst of the current turmoil. Father, we pray that You provide provisions for the refugees and that You restore peace in the region. Amen