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The Christian Post – Christian organizations are persisting in their efforts to distribute aid in Sudan ’s war-torn Darfur region despite escalating violence as peace talks continue.

With the intensified violence in the Western Sudan region, many aid groups have pulled their relief teams out from the area. Yet several Christian organizations remain in the region and are distributing supplies to the millions of displaced people that have suffered from 19 months of conflict.

Among the faith–based organizations currently in Darfur is Lutheran World Relief (LWR), who along with Action by Churches Together and Caritas Internationalis, offer one of the last health care centers in the region. LWR has been the victim of increased attacks on civilians and aid agencies including the abduction of three men from LWR’s partner organization, Sudan Social Development Organization (SUDO), on Sept. 29. Fortunately, Salah Idris, Ahmed Abubaker Musa and Salim Mohammed Salim were released unharmed on Oct. 6, after heightened international concern and three days following the substantive peace talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel groups on Oct. 3.

In a statement released by SUDO concerning the worsening security situation in Darfur, the human rights organization reported that “humanitarian workers continue to be harassed [by] authorities and militia, excluding none, which jeopardizes the safety and security of staff and operations, and in turn, restricts access to people in need.”

“In some locations, humanitarian agencies face considerable difficulties to serve some encamped IDP [Internally Displaced People] populations,” the statement added, “De-facto authorities need to change their attitude towards humanitarian workers and cease acts jeopardizing their work. There is a general sense of disappointment with what it has been possible to achieve in humanitarian protection, and a corresponding realization of how difficult it is to protect in the Darfur context.”

In addition to LWR, the Persecution Project Foundation (PPF), an organization that collects and distributes Christian persecution news with a particularly focus on Africa, has remained in Darfur despite the danger. In an interview with Mission Network News (MNN), Matt Chancey of PPF said the group does not intend to leave.

“We’re ramping up our efforts because we believe Christians need to show our brothers in Sudan that governments and NGO’s may fail them, but God will continue to provide for his people through the ministry of His church,” Chancey told MNN.

“We’ve been assisting thousands and thousands of Darfur Muslim refugees who have fled to southern Sudan to escape the genocide that is going on in Darfur ,” he continued. “We’ve been providing them food, medicine and more importantly Arabic Bibles and Radios so they can read or hear, through Radio Peace, about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

In addition to the hope brought to Darfur by the Christian relief agencies are the peace talks between the rebel armies and the Sudan government in Abuja , the capital of Nigeria . The most recent peace talks are part of the sixth attempt of peace between the two groups and officially began on Sept. 15 with direct substantive dialogue beginning on Oct. 3.

The sixth round adjourned on Thursday, Oct. 20 and made little headway because of the division between the rebel armies, who each claim to control the majority of the SLM fighters.

The congress of Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) will meet on Friday, Oct. 28 in an undisclosed location in Darfur to reconcile the division among the rebels and reconvene for peace talks in Abuja next month on Nov. 21, according to the Sudan Times…[Go To Full Story]