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Sudanese bishop tells of ‘unconscionable violence’

07 December 2012


On the march: Jusuf Kafi Durfan brings his sister-in-law, Hawa Elias, and her six children to the refugee camp in Yida, South Sudan. The picture was one of 16 sold in the Lumas online charity auction "Heal the World Through Art", held last month

On the march: Jusuf Kafi Durfan brings his sister-in-law, Hawa Elias, and her six children to the refugee camp in Yida, South Sudan. The picture was...

"UNCONSCIONABLE violence and unimaginable human-rights violations" have been visited on the civilian population of the Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, the Bishop of Kadugli, the Rt Revd Andudu Adam Elnail, said last week.

Bishop Elnail was speaking as part of an interfaith delegation that travelled to Ethiopia to urge the African Union to do more to avert a potential "humanitarian catastrophe" in Sudan. The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan signed a deal in September to secure their shared border ( News, 12 October), but fighting between the Sudanese army and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) continues in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, Hervé Ladsous, reported on Wednesday of last week that a "lack of progress" in resolving security, economic and political issues with South Sudan, continued to "directly impact stability".

Bishop Elnail said that "mosques and churches have been attacked and many lives have been lost. But rather than dividing the people, these attacks have served to further unify the many faiths that have always peacefully coexisted."

The Bishop told the BBC radio Sunday programme this week of his concerns about the thousands of children living in the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan. In the week before 16 November, there were 2100 new arrivals, of which more than 85 per cent were women and children.

Mr Ladsous also reported last week that Jonglei State, in South Sudan, is the "epicentre" of persistent security challenges. Many leaders had confessed to having little control over young people, against a backdrop of "weakened traditional community structures".

Cattle raids and child abductions have blighted the state ( News, 27 January), but the Archbishop of Sudan, Dr Daniel Deng, told the Sunday programme that efforts to return children to their parents had been "very encouraging".

Sudan visit. Two priests from the diocese of Salisbury have spoken about the "humbling" impact of their visit to South Sudan. The Rector of Blandford Forum and Langton Lang, the Revd Tim Storey, and the Priest-in-Charge of St Mark's, Salisbury, the Revd Jim Findlay, spent three weeks teaching at Bishop Ngalamu Theological College, Mundri.

Mr Findlay spoke of how the village of one student, from the diocese of Ibba, had been attacked by the Lord's Resistance Army, Congolese rebels, and the SPLA. The student's parents were killed, and he had to give up his education to look after his family.

"He is talking about his priority being ministry for the Lord," Mr Findlay said. "It is encountering stories like that that leave you utterly humbled and challenged about your own ministry, your own life, your own priorities."



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