Date: November 29, 2019
Christian leaders in Sudan and South Sudan contacted Barnabas to request prayers for the precarious political situation and challenges facing the Church in both countries.
In Sudan, Church leaders called for prayer asking for wisdom for leaders during this transitional time and for the future leadership to be supportive of religious freedom, including the freedom of worship that is currently enjoyed.
They also request prayer for Christians caught in the Nuba Mountain conflict and humanitarian aid blockade, who are suffering food shortages and bombings. The UN will not enter the disputed territory because it doesn’t want to antagonise the Sudanese government and inhabitants do not trust aid that comes from the north.
Protests led to the fall of President Omar el-Bashir in a military coup in Sudan in April 2019. A Transitional Military Council (TMC) took control but civilian protests for democratic government continued, resulting in the TMC and civil society signing a transitional governance agreement in August. In this, they agreed a 39-month power-sharing term, followed by an election. The situation in Sudan remains politically fragile.
For South Sudan, Church leaders said prayer for a stable, transitional government is also needed, and for the protection of vulnerable Christians, especially women and children. They requested prayer for the international community to support the quest for lasting peace from the civil war that began in December 2013. A peace agreement to end the war was signed in September 2018.
The Ebola threat remains, but five Ebola screening stations on the border with Congo and Uganda were closed last month when aid workers were reportedly killed in crossfire. Prayer is needed for this and for health issues, loss of homes and suffering caused by recent floods.
The peace agreement signed by President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar required the formation of a unity government in South Sudan by 12 November. However, discord between the two leaders has impeded progress and, on 8 November, the pre-transitional period was extended again by 100 days.
South Sudan became independent in 2011, but the five-year civil war has resulted in the deaths of 400,000 people and the displacement of two million.