Canon Ian Woodward, Chair of the Salisbury – Sudans Partnership gives an update on the ongoing conflict in Sudan
The whole of the Sudans needs your prayers as the bloody internal ‘War of the warlords’ in Khartoum and Omdurman and Darfur areas of Sudan shows no signs of diminishing whilst conflict also continues in the disputed regions of Abyei and Kadugli in the Nuba Mountains on the borders of South Sudan. Meanwhile South Sudan struggles to support returning refugees fleeing from the fighting in Sudan, many of them South Sudanese who fled Juba and South Sudan when civil war broke out in Juba just some 18 months after independence in 2011. Now they are on the move once again. Archbishop Ezekiel has managed to flee Khartoum with his family and provincial staff and with the help of partners including the Dioceses of Leeds, The Church Association of Sudan and South Sudan, and our Salisbury Sudans Partnership has re-established his provincial offices in Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast.
Funds are getting through to the ECS bank account in Port Sudan and Abp Ezekiel stresses his priorities are for food for his people, just as they were during the Covid pandemic in 2020-2022. Life is lived on the edge, and it is hard to imagine how Sudan and it’s people can survive for long in the present circumstances. Support to the RSF (Rapid Support Forces) and the Sudan Government’s SAF (Sudan Armed Forces) are supported by different countries in the Arabian Peninsula including Saudia Arabia which is seeking to establish peace negotiations. The ‘Troika’ of Norway, the United States, and the United Kingdom still holds the responsibility and role of ‘guarantor’ to peace in the Sudans which began long ago when independence was but a gleam in the eyes of South Sudanese people, is also seeking to bring resolution. Our Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recently had ministerial level meetings with the government in Cairo, and our APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group for the Sudans) is actively engaged in these humanitarian tragedies in the Sudans. On the ground in Omdurman, just across the Nile from Khartoum, Churches have been destroyed and seemingly whole communities have been obliterated.
Such devastation in not unique to the Sudans as we still see daily in Gaza and the Ukraine. All these places need your prayers so much but please hold the Sudans in your hearts too; the people of Kadugli in the Nuba Mountains with whom our Bradford on Avon deanery is linked, those in Abyei who are being killed by rebels from Darfur; for those in Darfur seeking peace and especially Bp Ismail of the diocese of El Obeid with his isolated community in East Darfur; for Abp Ezekiel and his church communities; and the people of South Sudan as they seek to welcome and accommodate refugees from Sudan – Thank you.