22nd May 2023
The big hope at the moment is that a week-long ceasefire agreed between the Army and the RSF (paramilitaries) will begin tonight. The fighting has continued all week but is at a stalemate, with the RSF hiding in city houses and other buildings, and the Army unable to do anything decisive.
Last week messages from friends in Sudan spoke of hunger, food supplies having run out, and no money to buy urgent needs as the banks are still shut. Medical assistance is destroyed, hospitals and doctors having been targeted by the RSF.
Some areas outside central Khartoum have thousands of refugees camped or moving through – but life there otherwise goes on as normal, except for high prices due to scarcity of basic commodities. After a prolonged effort and trying different ways, Leeds Link have wonderfully got relief funding through to Wad Medani and Port Sudan.
How can this end?
- The armed forces must return to their barracks.
- Police must regain control of the streets.
- Banks must re-open.
- Normal commerce needs to resume with goods being transported safely across Sudan.
- Transport must be running again for people to be able to get to work and earn a living.
None of those things are simple, but all need to be there before our companions in Sudan can assess their urgent needs to replace what has been stolen or destroyed, for the church to recommence its ministry and mission.
o The situation in Sudan is a struggle for power. Pray that the Army and RSF will concede to peaceful talks rather than fighting.
o Positive moves towards religious freedom were made in recent years. Pray that the outcome of the conflict will lead to greater freedom and not a return to authoritarian rule.
o In times of darkness and conflict the church can have a powerful witness. Pray that in Sudan it will continue to be a voice of peace and hope.
The World Council of Churches sent a message to Archbishop Ezekiel last week expressing their concern. He has replied –
“Your message was received like cold water for the thirsty in hopelessness. Your strong voice indicates that Churches and the people of Sudan are not alone and therefore, not forgotten.
As the Executive Committee Members meet next week, please know that we appreciate and value your stand and support of our case at this critical time which Sudan is passing through. We will be praying for you that God will guide your thoughts and minds at this important meeting.
Through the WCC and her partners, we, the ecumenical family of Churches in Sudan request the Army and RSF Generals to consider the following points as a matter of urgency.
o An immediate ceasefire and end of the war and genuine negotiations as the acceptable way for resolving conflict.
o Provision of humanitarian assistance to displaced persons within Sudan and refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries.
o immediate withdrawal of forces from service institutions like hospitals, schools, places of worship and other public institutions.
o Stop the forced conscription of young men into the warring parties.”