Civil War Threatening the Sudans, Warn Bishops
Conflict Worsening at New Border Region
KHARTOUM, Sudan, NOV. 7, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Violence is spreading in Sudan and the newly formed South Sudan, such that a civil war is threatening if the international community doesn’t intervene, according to the countries’ bishops.
The Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which serves Sudan and the world’s newest country, South Sudan, released a communiqué Oct. 28 titled “The Church God Wants Us to Be.”
As reported by Aid to the Church in Need, the statement speaks of spreading violence in Blue Nile State, South Kordofan and Eastern Equatoria, as well as ongoing violence in Darfur.
The bishops urged an immediate international response, stressing how the conflict in oil-rich Abyei has been “militarized,” and how the Lord’s Resistance Army continues plaguing Western Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal.
“We have constantly warned of the danger of a return to hostilities if the legitimate aspirations of the people of those areas were not met,” the bishops stated.
Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok Kur of Khartoum told Aid to the Church in Need today, “If you consider the many conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan, they will almost certainly create a situation in which one side or the other will say, ‘Enough is enough. We need to do whatever is necessary to clear away the problem.’
“The government of Sudan may say that if there are [hostile] soldiers on their border, we will need to react; the government of South Sudan may say that it has to hunt down the militia including going into the territory of Sudan. This of course will provoke a reaction from Sudan. One or other of these things is quite likely to happen.”
The bishops’ statement made a plea for the opening of humanitarian corridors to assist some 200,000 displaced people from South Kordofan and Blue Nile State, both on the contentious border between Sudan and South Sudan.
Stating that “corruption is unacceptable,” the bishops call on the governments of both Sudans to be transparent and democratic.
The statement was issued after a 10-day plenary assembly at which the prelates decided to retain one bishops’ conference despite the creation of South Sudan in July.
“The Church in the two nations will continue to be in solidarity due to our shared history and the very real and practical and human links between us,” the communiqué affirmed. The conference will create two secretariats, one in each capital, to implement policies at the local level.