Sudan Talks to Resume, Tensions Remain High
"There's talk about cleansing the North of the stain of Christianity. Some official statements refer to Southern Sudanese as insects, a plague that needs to be eradicated from Sudan."
05/28/2012 Sudan (MNN)-African Union-brokered talks are set to resume tomorrow between Sudan and South Sudan. Leaders hope to end the tensions that have teetered Sudan and fledging South Sudan on the brink of war. Issues include the oil-rich border areas and ethnic conflicts. The talks will be held in Ethiopia.
Words of Hope broadcasts Christian programming into the region. The ministry's Vice President Lee DeYoung tells us top Sudanese leaders have been outright hostile in their rhetoric. "There are literally hundreds of thousands of Christians of South Sudanese origin who have lived their entire lives in North Sudan, particularly around Khartoum. For many years, there was at least some kind of tolerance of those people, but intolerance is mounting."
The intolerance, says DeYoung, has gone even further. "There's talk about cleansing the North of the stain of Christianity. Some official statements refer to Southern Sudanese as insects, a plague that needs to be eradicated from Sudan."
Many have attempted to leave the North, says DeYoung, but they can't. "On one hand, the government of Sudan says you must leave. And yet, when they try to leave, they say, 'You need to have papers from South Sudan in order to leave,' which seems to be a real catch 22 because many of these people have never lived in South Sudan."
This political tug-o-war is causing major problems. DeYoung continues, "There are literally thousands of refugees trying to leave the North but are unable to cross the border into the South because of the fact that there is armed conflict that's been escalating there, but also just seemingly bureaucratic opposition to their leaving at the same time they're being treated so badly."
While the political conflict has been heavy, so have the internal issues. "The cost of living has increased since the separation of South Sudan from Sudan. Once the independence became official, the supply lines to the North were cut off."
Despite this, Words of Hope will continue broadcasting into the region. DeYoung is asking you to pray for "[the] cessation of tension and hostility and violence between South Sudan and Sudan. Pray that the church would be successful -- and other Christian groups -- in providing the hope of the Gospel to help to ease tensions between the ethnic groups in South Sudan."