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Southern Sudan : serious clash threatens peace

ASSIST News Service

December 13, 2006

AUSTRALIA (ANS) — For many years prior to January 2005, the plight of the long-suffering, intensely persecuted, predominantly Christian peoples of Southern Sudan was a regular feature in these WEA Religious Liberty Prayer (RLP) Bulletins. The Southern Sudanese suffered 21 years of aerial bombardments, helicopter gunship assaults, scorched earth warfare, massacres, systematic slavery, forced Islamisation and engineered famine at the hands of the Government of Sudan (GoS)/National Islamic Front alliance and their numerous government-sponsored Islamic militias.

That jihad claimed two million lives and created more than four million refugees. Tens of thousands of African southerners were abducted and sold into slavery in the Arab north. The war left the south totally traumatised and devastated, struggling to cope without infrastructure and with problems found nowhere else in the world, such as Guinea worm and ‘nodding disease’. In spite of all this, the Church in Southern Sudan grew from five percent in 1960 to an estimated 70 percent in 2000.

The Comprehensive Peace Accord signed in January 2005 was the result of several years of volatile, fragile, on/off negotiations, each stage of which was covered by RLPs for specific prayer. The peace accord was nothing less than a miracle of God.

But we cannot take this peace for granted. South Sudan ‘s autonomy, which has enabled it to reject Islamisation, goes against all Islamist ideology. What’s more, Sudan ‘s oil wealth is located in the south and the GoS is a belligerent, narcissistic rogue regime. Little has been done towards implementing the peace deal. The GoS is far too busy sponsoring the massacring of civilians in Darfur .

Malakal, on the Nile River , is the capital of Upper Nile State , Southern Sudan . It is close to the north-south border and is potentially one of the most oil-rich regions in Sudan . During the latter part of its jihad the GoS armed and sponsored militias in Malakal to enable it to extract oil from the war zone.

In late November 2006 soldiers from a Khartoum-sponsored militia led by Maj.-Gen. Gabriel Tang of the north’s Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) attacked two soldiers of the south’s Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), killing one. SPLA soldiers pursued the perpetrators who fled to a GoS-sponsored army barrack. At that point the conflict escalated into a full-scale military confrontation. By the time UN troops restored order, up to 300 people were dead (including an estimated 50 civilians) and some 500 were wounded, in an area where medical clinics are in short supply of everything, including doctors. The water has been cut off. Corpses have polluted the Nile and there is concern about cholera. Worse still is the fear that war could resume.

Incidents between the SAF and the SPLA have increased over recent months causing mounting tensions. The eyes of the world are on Darfur . Islamic revolution, to which GoS unashamedly aspires, is on the rise. Irredentist Islamic jihad is erupting in the Horn of Africa. We cannot take South Sudan ‘s peace for granted.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR:

God to intervene in Sudan , removing those intent on provoking conflict and threatening peace; may the hearts of the people desire peace, progress and liberty.

our Lord who sees and provides (Jehovah-jireh) to provide supplies, strength and security to pastors, teachers, doctors, leaders and all those involved in spiritual and physical relief and development in Southern Sudan, that they might bring healing to Southern Sudan ‘s people and land.

God in his great power and mercy to strip power from Omar al-Bashir and his belligerent Islamist regime, and raise up just leaders who will promote and preserve peace and religious liberty.