The week before last I blogged on how the orchestrated violence by the Government of Sudan in the Abeyi region threatened a humanitarian emergency and South Sudan’s move to independence on 9 July. Since then the situation has worsened significantly.
Yesterday, the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a statement on the recent violence in the neighbouring area of South Kordofan. The Archbishop’s statement follows on from an emergency appeal that the Bishop of Bradford launched last week for Bradford’s companion Diocese of Kadugli that has been seriously affected by this violence. A statement issued today by the Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan underlines just how targeted and intentional the violence has been. Archbishop Daniel writes:
Without a doubt then, the most worrying aspect of the recent conflict is the way in which fighting that originated between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) has now transformed into what can only be described as a deliberate strategy to rid Kadugli of its indigenous African and Christian population by the SAF, in short a policy of ethnic cleansing….. Genocide is highly likely without international mediation. Therefore, we implore, you all, especially the Troika (the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Norway) the African Union, and the United Nations to endeavour to prevent genocide and the deliberate killing of certain groups by others before it is too late.
Archbishop Daniel has appealed to international and indigenous NGOs who can assist with aid and relief to coordinate their efforts and work together with local and trusted organisations such as the churches. Despite the recent violence, the Episcopal Church of Sudan is well placed to use its extensive network in South Kordofan and Abeyi to distribute medicines, food and non-food items to those most in need.
There will be time aplenty in the days ahead to consider the causes and implications of Sudan’s latest descent into violence. The priority at the moment must however be to secure a cessation of violence and to secure access for humanitarian aid.
If you want to support the Church’s efforts in this area then donations can be made via the Diocese of Bradford’s emergency appeal. Bishop Nick Baines blog will provide a valuable means to keep up to date with the situation in South Kordofan. In the meantime, please keep the people of Southern Kordofan and Abyei in your prayers.