|Sudan: imminent independence for the South|
Originally posted on 8th July 2011
Greetings in the name of Jesus, Prince of Peace
Sudanese Christians request our continued prayer as the North and South become separate countries on Saturday, 9th July. Many of the South’s leaders have high hopes for the new state of South Sudan, with festivities planned for the capital, Juba. However, the new country will face many challenges, e.g. it will be ranked at the bottom of the Human Development index, has limited physical and economic infrastructure, and several armed groups have already formed within its borders.
However, there are several specific issues to pray for.
First, the citizenship and residential status of those of Southern origin living in the North, many of whom are Christian, remains unclear. There is a fear that some will loose their right to stay, causing Northern Christians, especially those from Muslim backgrounds, to be in a more vulnerable position. There are also fears that Churches in the North may face further restrictions on their freedom of worship if the government in the North implements a strict form of Shari’a on all residents.
Second, there have been violent clashes in several Northern provinces near the North-South border. There are two main aspects to these clashes. First, the displacement of those perceived as being loyal to the South, many of whom are amongst the estimated 170,000 people that have been displaced. Second, clarification of the status of these areas, either as joining the South (which appears unlikely) or securing greater autonomy within the North. These clashes are politically motivated, with loyalty and control of resources amongst the motivations. The attacked communities include Christians, some of whom have been displaced.
Third, amidst violence in South Kordofan the North's forces targeted community leaders and important institutions, which are mainly churches and mosques. On June 8th two Christians were murdered in cold blood. Nimeri Philip Kalo, a student at St. Paul Major Seminary, was shot dead by members of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF, i.e. the North’s army) in front of bystanders. Adeeb Gismalla Aksam (aged 33), the son of an elder in the Evangelical Church, was killed by militants loyal to the SAF in Kadugli Market. Both incidents raised fears amongst Christians that others would be targeted, and that the authorities and/or UN would not act to protect them.
Fourth, there have also been clashes within Southern provinces near the border. These are primarily about the degree of local autonomy and share of national resources.
Sudanese Christians request our continued prayers that:
May be circulated to general mailing lists, outside organizations, and quoted from freely in reports citing "Middle East Concern" as the source of the information.
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