THE people of South Kordofan, where fighting has now raged for
four years, "cannot stand the civil war any longer", a Sudanese
bishop has said.
The Bishop of Kadugli, the Rt Revd Andudu Elnail, said last
month that peace was "the only option. . . No one can win this war,
and our people are the losers. For a while, both SPLA [Sudan
People's Liberation Army] and the army of Khartoum believed they
could win the civil war. But now, after almost four years, both
parties must wake up and be realistic. We are fighting a war that
is costly in terms of human lives, it destroys our lands, and no
one is able to win this war anyway."
Conflict has marred South Kordofan since South Sudan seceded in
2011. The government has recently stepped up attempts to crush the
insurgency mounted by a rebel group made up largely of soldiers who
fought in the civil war. An attempt in December by the African
Union to broker a ceasefire failed. Operations by Médecins Sans
Frontières in South Kordofan were suspended in January, after a
hospital was bombed.
The President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, is currently seeking
re-election after 25 years in power. He has been indicted by the
International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes against
humanity, and genocide in connection with atrocities in Darfur.
In February, Reuters reported that mainstream opposition leaders
in Sudan had called for a nationwide boycott of the presidential
and parliamentary elections due to take place on 13 April, and
called for the President's removal.
Human Rights Watch has repeatedly called on the UN Security
Council to establish an international commission of inquiry into
abuses in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. Its latest report on the
country says that, after government forces were deployed to the
region, dozens of civilians were killed or injured. The attacks
"forced tens of thousands of people . . . to abandon their homes
Speaking during a visit to Cairo, now home to thousands of
people displaced from his region, including his mother, Bishop
Elnail said: "It makes me sick to be far from her and that she has
to live in such squalor. Our churches are burned, our fields
bombarded, our people killed. We have had too much war and
suffering. Too many of our people are scattered in exile. . . We
want to return to our Nuba Mountains, to Sudan."
Archbishop meets Tony Blair. Mr Blair met the
Archbishop of Canterbury last month to discuss the persecution of
Christians, including those in Sudan, The Sunday Times
reported this week. A spokeswoman for Archbishop Welby confirmed
that they had met: "Persecution of Christians is a deep concern of
the Archbishop's . . . which, in common with other people, he
invariably highlights at these meetings in order to seek broader
support for action."