The momentum on Northern Sudan is growing at last. This week (among other things) the following have been said or done:
I remind the Government of Sudan of their obligation to protect civilians and call on all parties to cease hostilities immediately… I am deeply concerned at the continuing violence in the Abyei and Southern Kordofan regions of Sudan. Reports of ongoing attacks on civilians and aerial bombardments are shocking and I condemn all such actions. Equally disturbing is the denial of access to humanitarian agencies. It is essential that these agencies are allowed to provide assistance to the thousands of people affected by the recent violence. I remind the Government of Sudan of their obligation to protect civilians and call on all parties to cease hostilities immediately.
The talks ongoing in Addis Ababa, facilitated by the AU High Level Implementation Panel, present an opportunity for all parties to deliver the peace that their people deserve. To squander this opportunity would put in danger the achievements of the last five years and further increase the suffering of civilians in Abyei and Southern Kordofan. I strongly urge all parties to work together to seek an early peaceful solution.
The Archbishop of Sudan, Daniel Deng issued a statement which included:
Without a doubt then, the most worrying aspect of this 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. This is not the first time a government policy of ethnic cleansing has been applied in Sudan; the genocide in Western Darfur is very well known. Moreover, activities of a similar nature occurred just a few weeks ago when the Dinka Ngok, indigenous to Abyei, were slaughtered and displaced from their homes within Abyei Town in mass numbers.
We categorically condemn the use of force by the Government of Sudan towards its own people. We condemn the use of aerial bombardments on civilians and the arbitrary arrest of citizens in Southern Kordofan. No one is willing to return to war, therefore, we insist that the Government of Sudan releases those who have been arbitrarily arrested and return to the negotiating table with the Government of South Sudan on its consultation framework.
We appeal to the international community, particularly the signatories of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, to unite and do everything in their power to intervene quickly to stop the fighting and the killing of innocent people, and to protect those residents of Southern Kordofan and Abyei who are Christian and African and, as a result, are suffering persecution. 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.
We appeal to both indigenous and international Non-Government Organisations who can assist with aid and relief to coordinate their efforts and work together with local and trusted organisations such as the churches, to address the physical needs of the sick and needy in Southern Kordofan. The ECS is ready to facilitate in the distribution of medicines, food and non-food items using our extensive network in Southern Kordofan and Abyei. We request for food and-non-items as well as donations to support their purchase. We strongly urge the United Nations Mission In Sudan and NGOs within Sudan to make use of the ECS as a well-placed partner to help with efficient distribution of relief items.
Finally, we appeal to members of the Anglican Communion around the world and those of other denominations to intercede on our behalf to Almighty God so that the people of Southern Kordofan and Abyei may be delivered from this trauma and distress.
As the Archbishop for all of Sudan, I write this statement with great sorrow and commiseration for my brothers and sisters in Southern Kordofan. Despite the country’s divide, the clergy and laity of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan believe they serve a living God unimpeded by political boundaries. We strive to remain one church, united in the Body of Christ and steadfast in the midst of this current tribulation.
Questions have also been asked in Parliament and answers can be found in Hansard.
The Diocese of Bradford is sending someone out this week who knows the territory and will bring back to us first-hand news and experience. So far the diocese has raised over £6,000 from our appeal.
South Kordofan must not be allowed to become another Darfur.