6th May 2023
Fighting between the two military chiefs continues as neither has an incentive to seek peace. The Rapid Support Forces (RSF), hiding in the streets in the residential areas across Omdurman & Khartoum, continue to battle the army, which tends to attack from the air. Men in the neighbourhood seek to protect their properties from the looting and armed robbery that is occurring across the city. People’s houses, banks, factories, markets and shops are all being ransacked.
Omdurman is regarded as one of the safer areas – but bullets regularly fly through people’s windows. Gamayir is a suburb in north Omdurman, with a small parish church. On Sunday, during the service it was hit by a bullet that fell in the altar area. Fortunately, no one was injured.
On Thursday we heard “Every morning there is new thing about the situation in the Sudan as the RSF entered today in the traffic police office in Omdurman which is in the same block as the Bible College and the Church of the Saviour. We are afraid that maybe these forces enter the church and college buildings looking for water. Please pray for the church and the people, especially the pastor and his family who had to leave the place suddenly.” The Church of the Saviour is one of ECS’s main centres.
All Saints Cathedral, in Khartoum, was surrounded from the very first hours of the conflict. On April 18th the RSF took it over, harassing and insulting Abp Ezekiel and other clergy. A church member has now managed to return to the scene, reporting extensive damage and the transformation of the church into a dormitory for the fighters. Having made it their base, they have made it a legitimate target for an army airstrike. Even if that doesn’t happen the RSF have almost certainly broken into the clergy houses and offices in the cathedral grounds and will have looted them. After this, Abp Ezekiel and the Dean will need help reinstating their family homes. And one of the offices contains the safe for the Province.
Overcrowding, supply shortages, no medical help, and non-availability of cash are leading to dire situations in cities that are receiving many refugees. The harsh humanitarian situation is made even more difficult as most import and export routes in Sudan are currently closed. Blocked import routes are causing shortages and a rise in prices on basic goods at a time when most Sudanese are unable to work and get their daily wages.
The ongoing fighting has forced many hospitals, shops, pharmacies, and markets to close as they cannot be safely operated. Doctors have been specifically targeted and kidnapped by RSF soldiers, to treat injured troops. The army has its own hospitals. People in need of dialysis, and many pregnant women or cancer patients are unable to receive treatment. The Christian mission clinic at Abu Rof, Omdurman, closed on 15th April. Doctors and staff could not get from their homes to the hospital as the bridges in Khartoum closed. The last message from Rani as the phone ran out of power after charging with the last % on his car, was that they can’t get out of their houses, have no food, water, and electricity. “We are slowly dying in the heat” (above 35C).
Port Sudan is witnessing unprecedented overcrowding, but is otherwise calm. Bp Abdu is trying to organise humanitarian relief. Wad Madani also faced a large influx of people fleeing Khartoum. So far, it has not witnessed major fighting but those who sought refuge there live in poor conditions. The city is running out of essential supplies, though two days ago it was said food is still readily available. One of our key contacts in Wad Medani, Andrew Macek, has gone. He arrived with his wife in Juba, South Sudan yesterday.
In Kadugli, there is no fighting but shops are shut and after three weeks of this crisis people are running out of supplies they had in their home.
Abp Ezekiel said “Nobody knows how and when this situation will come to an end. There is so much fear among the Sudanese people…. I thought about the boat, the disciples and Jesus. The disciples cried out. They thought they were about to die. And Jesus wakes up and commanded the wind to be quiet and be still. And it was. I believe God is able to do things. And this is the whole hope that we have. That [for] this sinking boat the waves and the wind will die out.”
We bring before you Lord the cries for help,
the tears and vulnerability of your people.
We bring before you the feeling of powerlessness,
the deep fears and suffering of your people.
Bless our brothers and sisters in Sudan.
You know our needs and feel our pain:
hear our cries and heal our wounds,
in Jesus name.