Despite an agreed upon demilitarized zone along the North/South Border of Sudan, increased military conflict continues in border regions as they move closer to Saturday’s South Sudan Independence celebration.
Civilians have been caught in the crossfire as violence between Sudanese government troops, Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), and members of the former southern rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), continues. Some civilians have fled seeking refuge in the Nuba Mountains, while others have been unable to escape the attacks. The Sudan Ecumenical Forum (SEF) co-chair Eberhard Hitzler stated, “A humanitarian crisis on an enormous scale is unfolding in South Kordofan state. In addition to killings, looting, the burning of property, and threats that have caused tens of thousands of people to flee their homes, the violence is a serious threat to stability between northern and southern Sudan and could affect the whole region.”
While the crisis in South Kordofan has not ceased yet, some progress has been made in negotiations over the future of Abyei. President Bashir and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) President, Salva Kiir, met on June 12 in an effort to calm the crisis. North and South Sudan have agreed, in principle, to demilitarize the disputed Abyei region and allow an Ethiopian peacekeeping force into the area.
What will happen this weekend is difficult to predict. The South’s secession from the North is slated to take place in just two days. God’s church in Sudan needs your prayers for a peaceful separation and against a return to the extreme violence of the 1990s.
Father, as Sudan faces the July 9 severing into two nations, we call upon you to protect Your church in the midst of this political crisis. We pray against a return to the civil war that was waged in the past for so many years. We pray for foreign workers that they will have wisdom and means to leave if necessary, and courage to remain if You call them to this service. And we pray especially for our Sudanese brothers and sisters in Christ who are living in the midst of this violence, that You will protect them and give them opportunities to bring Your comfort and truth to those around them. Amen