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Christians in peril as Sudan and South S...

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Christians in peril as Sudan and South Sudan head towards war

Project(s): 48-990

Country/Region: Sudan, Middle East and North Africa, South Sudan

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.

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.

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Christians in Sudan and South Sudan are facing the prospect of war again

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.  

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.

Left in limbo

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.

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.

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.

Families and individuals are experiencing… lack of shelter, medicine, schools and food. Barnabas Aid partner in South Sudan

Barnabas Fund is helping to meet the practical needs of Christians in both Sudan and South Sudan. We are providing returning refugees with emergency supplies, including sorghum (grain), salt, plastic sheeting for shelters, mosquito nets, blankets, water drums and cooking pots.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said:

A return to war would be a tragedy, especially for Christians in both territories who, during the long civil war, were particular targets of Khartoum’s aggression. Christians in Sudan are already suffering greatly as a result of the unresolved tensions between the two countries; many have been left homeless and in great need. The humanitarian situation will only deteriorate as the latest conflict intensifies.

Give Today

If you would like to help Christians in Sudan and South Sudan, please make a donation to theSudan and South Sudan General Fund(project 48-990). using our secure server.

If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project referenceSudan and South Sudan General Fund(project 48-990).

If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference Sudan and South Sudan General Fund (project 48-990).

For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/990 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).

Please Pray:
  • That the UN and African Union will be able to broker peace between Sudan and South Sudan and that the underlying issues will be resolved to the satisfaction of both nations.
  • For all those who have been left in a state of limbo without official citizenship of either Sudan or South Sudan. Pray that their paperwork will be issued swiftly and that they will be able to find homes and jobs.
  • That the Lord will protect His people in both Sudan and South Sudan from violent attack.
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  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 2 hours ago

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Lift up to the Lord persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka, where at least 65 anti-Christian incidents took place during 2013, including repeat attacks on several believers and their property in October 2013. However, a Sri Lankan government minister from a Buddhist nationalist party denied the accounts, saying that they might be “made up”. The minister claimed that Sri Lankans are “one family … trying to live together after a long civil war”. Pray that the Sri Lankan government will recognise the danger that our brothers and sisters face from militant Buddhists and that the authorities will provide effective protection for vulnerable Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

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