Published: 14:00 GMT Standard Time - Thursday 26 January 2012
Sudanese Christians suffering amid humanitarian crises and persecution
Christians are suffering in escalating humanitarian crises caused by conflicts in South Sudan and the border regions, while Christians and churches in Sudan are facing increased hostility because of their faith.
Barnabas Fund has provided supplies
for needy Sudanese Christians
An estimated 3,000 people have been killed and over 100,000 displaced in ethnic violence that has engulfed South Sudan’s Jonglei state. Entire villages have been burnt to the ground and, as aid agencies struggle to reach those who have been forced from their homes, many people have resorted to eating wild fruit.
Christians and church leaders have been among those killed; churches and other buildings used for Christian ministry have been destroyed in the violence.
One Christian leader who was among the evacuees from the town of Pibor said:
I saw children, women and many people resting under the trees, suffering from hunger, mosquito bites, lacking sleeping materials and drinking unclean water sometimes from the swamps and rivers… It was a tragic and miserable situation that I ever witnessed in my life.
Troubled border region
Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in the contested border region is also deteriorating rapidly. Fighting, which broke out after the Sudan Armed Forces occupied Abyei last May, has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes, and there are fears of a large-scale famine in the states of Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile. The US special envoy for Sudan said that more than a quarter of a million people could be on the brink of famine by March.
Christians, especially church leaders, have been targeted in this brutal campaign because they are presumed to oppose Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir.
In Sudan, which is 98 per cent Muslim, Christians and churches have been facing increased hostility since mainly Christian South Sudan gained independence in July 2011. There have been reports of church leaders being threatened, arrested and abducted. On 16 January, two church leaders were seized in Rabak, south of the capital Khartoum; a ransom of 500,000 Sudanese pounds (US$180,000) was demanded for their release.
Christian leaders fear that the situation for the Church in Sudan will only become more difficult. President al-Bashir has repeatedly stated his intentions to adopt an entirely Islamic constitution and increase the reach of sharia law, making life and ministry increasingly dangerous for Christians.
Barnabas is helping
Barnabas Fund has been supporting Christians in what are now the separate countries of Sudan and South Sudan for many years. Recent help has included food aid for thousands of Christians affected by violence, the provision of a borewell, income generation and microfinance initiatives, a health clinic and support for a prison ministry, as well as funding for a number of schools.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said:
Christians throughout Sudan, South Sudan and the border region are in tremendous need. They are suffering the humanitarian effects of the various conflicts and face added hostility – particularly in Sudan and the border region – because of their faith. Please remember them in your prayers and give whatever you can to help us meet their practical needs.
For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/990 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).
- For an end to the fighting in both South Sudan and the border regions between Sudan and South Sudan.
- That humanitarian aid will quickly reach all those affected by the conflicts.
- For Christians who are being targeted because of their faith, that they will be encouraged and blessed, knowing that the Spirit of glory and of God rests on them (1 Peter 4:14).