Tragedy continues in Sudan

January 31, 2012

The following post is the latest weekly release from the American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan offering an update on the continuing unrest in Sudan and South Sudan.

In the church:

A Message from AFRECS Executive Director Richard Parkins

If there were any doubt that the euphoria of July 9th has ended, the news from Sudan makes that conclusion inescapable. 

In recent days we have learned of massive troop deployments by the Sudanese army which suggests another and potentially more devastating assault on the people of the Nuba Mountains. Compounding this tragedy is the closing of possible escape routes for those fleeing this likely scenario of starvation and death. Providing humanitarian relief to those on the brink of starvation continues to be a vexing issue for the international community. If wholesale war erupts, the hoped for consultations that the CPA offered as a means of giving Sudanese in the disputed territories a chance at determining their political future become moot. 

Today’s Washington Post provided a vivid account of the ongoing tribal violence in Jonglei state, which has escalated to the point that warring tribes, the Nuer and Murle, are massacring each other. Little is being done by either the South Sudanese government or the UN to end the brutal rampages that have left hundreds dead and have added to the pessimism that many express about South Sudan’s future. 


At the occasion of the Centennial celebration of All Saints Cathedral in Khartoum, Khartoum’s Episcopal bishop, while lifting up the steadfast faith and endurance of his people, noted the pall that hangs over a diminishing number of Christians in his diocese s because of assertions from Sudan’s government that Sudan will move toward becoming a monolithic Islamic state where the Christian minority will be deemed outsiders.


Even as both Sudans struggle with catastrophes, a recent UNHCR report requests that several thousands of Eritreans who have fled to Eastern Sudan be regarded as permanently resettled in Sudan. Thus, even as crises abound in both parts of Sudan, extending hospitality to refugees from a neighboring country becomes an additional challenge to be met.  


Last week the executive council of The Episcopal Church passed a resolution reaffirming the longstanding commitment of the church to peace and justice for the Sudanese people, noting recent developments in both parts of Sudan which seriously challenge this peace and stability.  In calling for Episcopalians to engage in advocacy and to pray for peace, the Church is acknowledging prayer and advocacy as our essential response to the ongoing crisis in Sudan. Hopefully, this resolution will be widely shared throughout the entire Episcopal community and generate the responsiveness that these crises call out for. 


A Report from Larry Duffee, the Episcopal Church Missionary to the Episcopal Church of Sudan
I just returned from ten days out in the field teaching basic financial management and bookkeeping in the ECS dioceses of Maridi, Mundri, Lui and Rokon. This is part of my effort to visit as many dioceses as possible and to try and help the diocesan staffs and pastors to manage their finances. My work has been generously supported by the Diocese of Virginia and also the support I receive from AFRECS, which I greatly appreciate.
The teaching lasts a day and a half in each location. Although I brought a pop-up tent and was prepared to sleep on floors, I have been fortunate in finding comfortable accommodation in each diocese and enjoyed the local food, if not the local roads. A runner, I was also able to keep up with my running schedule in each location, much to the delight of the locals. The sight of me running through the streets of Juba attracts enough attention, but in these smaller towns it seemed as if everyone came out to see the crazy visitor who was out running.
Getting out of Juba and visiting the dioceses has been energizing and highly informative. I feel as if I have learned as much or more than I have taught. Some of the key things I have learned is how hungry everyone is for the training I am bringing. The dioceses want so terribly to learn how to manage their finances so they can grow their ministries. Second, all of the dioceses and their congregations are short on funds but rich in lands. Figuring methods for how this land can be made to benefit the dioceses is the most important thing to be determined in the next few years. Ideally, after my term as a missionary is complete in July, I will be followed by someone with development experience who can help the dioceses to develop their assets. My job has been to help the dioceses figure out how to account for what they have. The next phase will be to take what they have and develop it for their support.
A third thing I have observed is a longstanding, ingrained mentality amongst the congregations, dating from the original missionary days and extended during the war years when everyone was dependent upon aid, that the church is a top-down organization. It was so disheartening to hear the attitude amongst parishioners that the church really is the purview of the pastors and bishops and of no concern to ordinary people. I realized that one of the most important changes that needs to occur amongst the ECS members in Sudan is to turn people’s attitudes from “your church” to “our church.” Until the ordinary people believe that the church is in any way their concern, there will be no move to support the churches locally. Part of this effort requires the Church to determine the needs and interests of its members so it can deliver the services its members desire, things like Sunday school, literacy training or occasional meals for the poor in their communities.
One of the most important aspects of my training has been to stress to the staffs and pastors the realization that they are running a business, a large business, and that they need to treat their affairs very seriously. The message has been well received and I believe over time people will change their attitudes.
Home for two days, tomorrow I am heading out again to Yambio, Ibba, Nzara and Ezo for another ten-day adventure. After that I need to stick around the office in Juba for a while until I can head out again in March to more dioceses. This work has been some of the most exciting and personally satisfying I have done since I have been here. Thank you for the support from AFRECS for my work.
A Resolution on Sudan and South Sudan from the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church last week as A&N 052

Resolved, That the Executive Council, meeting in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, from January 27 – 29, 2012, rejoices in the establishment of the independent state of the Republic of South Sudan, while at the same time deplores the great human tragedy still occurring in the Three Protocol Areas of Abyei, Blue Nile State, and Southern Kordofan State, that were established under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed on January 9, 2005, from the continued wholesale war waged upon her people by the Government of Sudan; and be it further


Resolved, That the Executive Council calls upon the United States Government to renew and continue its economic sanctions and diplomatic efforts urgently to secure peace and an end to the egregious human rights violations and ongoing military brutality against the people in all areas of the Sudan, pursuant to Council Resolution AN 032 (Human Rights and Peace in Sudan, June 16, 2011, cited in Background, below); and be it further


Resolved, That the Executive Council reaffirms its solidarity with the Episcopal Church of Sudan and its pastors and priests and in the church’s call for peace in the Three Protocol Areas, the Republic of South Sudan, and all of Sudan; its leadership and care for all the people of Sudan; and its suffering as it has been targeted for violence and abuse; and be it further


Resolved, That the Executive Council reminds and urges all Episcopalians to continue in prayer and advocacy for all the people of Sudan, especially those in the war torn regions.



A Call for Action from the Episcopal Public Policy Network


The EPPN sent out an email, with contents also published by Episcopal News Service (ENS), to its membership last week calling for advocacy with the American government to enforce peace in Sudan and South Sudan and to address the growing humanitarian crisis in both countries. Please consider joining the network’s advocacy for the Sudans.



Asylum Granted


Bishop Andudu of Kadugli Diocese in the Nuba Mountains has been granted asylum in the US. 

The Archbishop’s Visit to Bor
The Anglican Communion News Service reports on Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul’s visit to Bor and his meetings with the governor of Jonglei State.
Travelers to South Sudan
The Rev. Dr. Ellen Hanckel of Southwest Virginia will be traveling to South Sudan; please keep her in your prayers. Also the Salisbury Sudan Link asks prayers for “Roger Johnson from Verwood who has gone to Yambio for 2 months to help with math teaching & to give practical help in the ECS there.”
One Hundred Years at All Saints Cathedral, Khartoum
The Salisbury Sudan Link has a link (scroll down) to Bishop Ezekiel Kondo’s address at his cathedral’s 100th anniversary. Khartoum did not approve several Americans’ visa applications in time for them to attend the celebration.
A Prayer for South Sudan
The Roman Catholic group Solidarity with South Sudan had a liturgy circulating via email last week that included this prayer:

Prayer for the Republic of South Sudan

Father of all Mercies,

We thank you for the grace

of our new nation, South Sudan.

May the gift of independence

bring us closer to you

and to one another in the spirit of service,

unity and peace.

Grant us a new vision

and a new spirit.

Instill concern for people

in the governance of our leaders.

Renew us the will for

honest and hard work and give us courage and wisdom

to render justice and

equality to everyone.

We ask this in Jesus’ name.


In politics — South Sudan:
The Oil Crisis Continues
Negotiations to resume South Sudanese oil export through Sudan’s pipeline failed this week, despite Sudan’s promise to release detained oil tankers and President Omar al-Bashir’s assurance that the release had occurred. South Sudan and Kenya signed a memorandum of understanding to construct a new pipeline from South Sudan to the Kenyan seaport of Lamu on the Indian Ocean. And South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum and Mining announced Sunday that the process of shutting down all the country’s oil wells is complete. In reaction to the situation, South Sudan has put its military on high alert.
The organization Local to Global Protection, which researches local perspectives on humanitarian crises, has published a report entitled “South 
The United Arab Emirates National website has a story on Murle and Lou Nuer casualties being treated in separate wings of a Juba hospital. And the Enough Project has a new report on the intercommunal fighting in Jonglei State. (Our readers might also like the Enough Project’s report “The Two Sudans: A Tour of the Neighborhood,” on the countries’ situation in East Africa.)
More Conflict Between Communities in South Sudan
At least 74 people are dead after new fighting between people in Unity and Warrap States in South Sudan over the weekend.
USAID has posted the outcomes of the US-South Sudan International Engagement Conference for South Sudan, held December 14-15, 2011.
War on South Sudan?
Sudanese Second Vice President Al-Haj Adam Youssef has threatened that the SAF may strike Juba in an effort to trounce all supporters of rebels in Sudan.
The IOM (International Organization for Migration) began an airlift project this week to take South Sudanese citizens stranded in Khartoum back to their country. And Israel has just announced that South Sudanese immigrants in that country must leave or be deported.
In politics — Sudan:
Chinese Prisoners
The SPLM-North or other Sudanese rebels captured some Chinese construction workers in South Kordofan. Various stories around the Internet claim alternatively that these workers were innocent civilians unfairly targeted by the rebels, that they were building roads designed to carry heavy military equipment that would further the Sudan Armed Forces’ assault on the people of the Nuba Mountains, and that the captives might have been taken to be used as a bargaining chip with the government of Sudan. Khartoum now claims to have liberated some 14 of these captives, but China says all of them are still in rebel hands. The New York Times has the latest.
New Satellite Images of Military Buildup
The Satellite Sentinel Project has convincing new imagery showing preparations for war in Sudan’s South Kordofan. These new images have led to warnings this week about a descent into full-scale war in the coming days. A group of 700 officers of the Sudan Armed Forces went to protest against the government’s military plans recently, indicating that corruption and politics have weakened the SAF, and that a larger war, or war against South Sudan, seems unwise. Voice of America has analysis of the situation. The organization Local to Global Protection, which specializes in local perspectives on humanitarian crises, has published a report on the Nuba people.
The Africa Union and Sudan
The AU has been meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this week, and coming under pressure to do something about the growing humanitarian crisis in the southern part of Sudan.
Status of Southerners in Sudan
Sudan has announced its intention to treat people of South Sudanese ethnicity as foreigners starting in April.
Sudan will play Zambia in the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations this coming Saturday, thanks to their win over Burkina Faso yesterday.
In politics — the two Sudans:
Big Picture Remarks on and Analysis of Sudan and South Sudan
The remarks of Deputy Secretary of State for the US Mission to the Africa Union William Burns to journalists in Addis Ababa last week included comments on conflict in the two ECS countries. Also looking toward the Addis meeting, Ambassador Princeton Lyman, US Special Envoy to Sudan, made some remarks and answered questions about the situation in the two countries. The Huffington Post has the word from the UN’s World Food Programme on its preparations for the worst case scenario if 500,000 refugees from Sudan flood into South Sudan. The website Pambazuka, Pan-African Voices for Freedom and Justice, also has a report on the two Sudans and other pieces of interest, and the Humanitarian Response Index 2011 has a report on Sudan. And an Al-Jazeera blogger revisits the call of John Garang for a New Sudan and tries to revive the dream of uniting the many anti-Bashir factions for change.
PRAY: Pray for the leaders and people of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, and all the leaders and people of Sudan and South Sudan. Pray for peace and for the health and safety of every person. Pray for wisdom and generosity on the part of the world as the nations debate how they can and should help in these troubled nations.
URGE: Support the position of the Episcopal Church as articulated by Executive Council and the Episcopal Public Policy Network. Use your own words or those of the church to ask your government not to abandon the peoples of the Sudans.

This weekly Sudan update is from the American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan. You are receiving it because you are currently on an AFRECS listserv. Feel free to forward this newsflash to others who may find it helpful. To join the list if you received this email as a forward, please send an email to with “SUBSCRIBE” in the subject line.  If you wish to unsubscribe, please send an email to with “UNSUBSCRIBE” in the subject line.  For more information about AFRECS, visit our website or our Facebook page.