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Evangelicals pledge support for Sudan referendum

ICC Note

The people of south Sudan, who are mostly Christians and animists, are going to hold referendum in January 2011. They will decide if they want to have their own country or continue to be part of Sudan. Millions of south Sudanese have lost their lives due to Islamic jihad by the government of Sudan.

By Brian Hutt

10/13/2010 Sudan (Christian Today)-The World Evangelical Alliance has promised to assist Southern Sudan as it enters the final months of preparation before a crucial referendum on the country’s future.

The people of Southern Sudan head to the polls on January 9, 2011, to determine whether they will remain united with the North or gain their independence.

Secretary General of the WEA, Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, told the President of Southern Sudan last week that the world’s evangelicals would pray for a “free, fair and safe referendum” and lobby their governments to help the country make the necessary preparations.

Amid fears that the referendum will trigger a new conflict, Dr Tunnicliffe announced the launch of a new peace fund for Sudan that will raise money to support the church’s mediation and peacekeeping work.

The measures were outlined last week at a forum in the Southern Sudanese capital of Juba joined by President Salva Kiir and leaders of the church.

Dr Tunnicliffe commended the president for his engagement with the church and demonstrating a spirit of reconciliation after he offered a presidential pardon to some rebel leaders.

“The people of Sudan have suffered for many years. Now is the time for a new future that will bring peace, wholeness, dignity, freedom of belief and freedom from extreme poverty. The people of Sudan deserve nothing less,” he said.

Also present at the forum was Aiah Forday-Khabenje, General Secretary of the Association of Evangelicals of Africa (AEA). He called upon the international community to support the Southern Sudanese in holding a successful and peaceful referendum.

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“We are looking to governments to honour the commitment they made to ensure that the referendum goes ahead on time and that it does not result in further suffering for the people of Sudan.”

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