Tuesday, June 7, 2016

RLPB 360. Sudan: war and famine, impunity and funding

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 360 | Wed 08 Jun 2016

Please forward this prayer bulletin widely, and encourage others to sign up to the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin blog. "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:16 NIV)

also, God answers prayer for Maryam (Iran)

By Elizabeth Kendal

Nuba refugees in Yida
('Erasing the Nuba,' CNN, Dec 2012)
The genocidal jihad of the Government of Sudan (GoS) against the Christian Nuba of South Kordofan has now entered its sixth year. As war rages, children die, farms burn and food runs out, the Nuba head south to seek refuge in Yida, in South Sudan's northern Unity State. When the rains come and the roads become impassable, those stranded in the Nuba Mountains -- which is officially off limits to humanitarian aid groups -- will experience serious food insecurity. The GoS is an expert at genocide -- killing both directly, and indirectly by engineering the conditions for famine. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), 7500 Nuba refugees have arrived in Yida since the start of the year -- 3000 in May alone. Ninety percent of the refugees are women and children and one in ten children arrives alone.

Sudanese journalists with Nuba Reports believe that the reason the GoS launched its fighting so late in the season this year and relied so heavily on aerial bombardment has as much to with logistics as with strategy. Apparently the GoS has had difficulty paying its troops. As soldiers have deserted the battlefield due to lack of payment, the GoS has been forced to recruit fighters and jihadists from far and wide. But lack of funds might not be a problem for much longer because the GoS is about to get a massive injection of funds and assistance from the European Union.

Leaked minutes from a secret 23 March 2016 meeting of the ambassadors of the EU's 28 member states indicate that Sudan will benefit from a $45 million regional program to 'better manage migration'. Furthermore, on 5 April the EU Commissioner for International Co-operation and Development, Neven Mimica,  visited Sudan to announce that Khartoum will receive a $112 million aid package to 'address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement' in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. This comes despite the fact that Khartoum IS the root cause of irregular migration and forced displacement from these regions. The decision beggars belief.  [See Religious Liberty Monitoring (7 June) for more details.] Desperate for any action that will stem the migrant flow, it seems the EU will not let human rights get in the way. This will surely embolden the GoS, which will see it as a green light to escalate repression and persecution.

On 18 May fifteen bombs landed in the vicinity of a Catholic school in Heiban in the Nuba Mountains. Then on 26 May a GoS fighter jet launched a missile directly into the school compound. A Kenyan teacher was wounded and classrooms and a library suffered extensive damage. The only reason this did not result in a massacre of children (as intended) was because the children were not present as only teachers were there, correcting exams.
Pastor Kwa Samaal (MSN)

Meanwhile in Khartoum: on 22 May the GoS informed the head of UN's Sudan Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Ivo Freijsen, that his annual stay permit would not be renewed. Freijsen had until 6 June to be out of the country. On 10 May imprisoned Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) vice-moderator, the Rev Hassan Abdelrahim Tawor [see RLPB 341 (26 Jan 2016)], was transferred from prison to a holding cell of a court for those facing crimes against the state. On 25 May Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) re-arrested Pastor Kwa Shamaal, SCOC's head of mission. Morning Star News (MSN) has been informed that Pastor Shamaal and the Rev Hassan Abdelrahim Tawor could face charges calling for the death penalty.


* 'lift up your hand' and supply all the needs of the gravely imperilled Christians of the Nuba Mountains, including security, food out of season, humanitarian aid despite all the hurdles, as well as spiritual comfort and strength.

* 'lift up your hand' against the Islamist regime of Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum, breaking its 'arm' (mechanism of action) and ushering in justice for the 'fatherless and oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.' (Pray Psalm 10)
Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim (MSN)

* 'lift up your hand' and intervene for Pastor Kwa Shamaal and Rev Hassan Abdelrahim Tawor. 'Incline your ear,' Lord, and hear the prayers of your gravely imperilled, suffering Church and all who intercede for her.

'Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted.' (Psalm 10:12 ESV)

* God Answers Prayer for Maryam (Iran)
Prayer went out around the world last week for Maryam (Naseem) Naghash Zargaran, an Iranian convert and prisoner for Christ who, though seriously ill, was being denied proper medical care. On Monday 6 June, Maryam was released on bond to receive medical treatment. Thank you, Lord, for the blessing granted through the prayers of many (2 Cor 1:11). Please continue to pray for Maryam.

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* REMINDER: Pray for Muslims during RAMADAN, 6 June to 5 July. See http://pray30days.org/ 

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The Government of Sudan's genocidal jihad against the Christian Nuba of South Kordofan has now entered its sixth year. Heavy aerial bombardment of residential and farming areas in the Nuba Mountains has forced thousands to flee. Those who remain, as the rain sets in, now closing roads, face serious food insecurity. An EU deal providing Khartoum with $112 million to help curb migration -- regardless of human rights -- will doubtless embolden the regime which will read the move as a green light to escalate war and persecution. In this context we learn that imprisoned Sudanese Church of Christ leaders, Kwa Shamaal and Hassan Abdelrahim Tawor, may both be facing 'national security charges' carrying the death penalty. Please pray Psalm 10 for Sudan. Please pray for Sudan's oppressed and persecuted Christians.


Elizabeth Kendal is the author of Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat.

Elizabeth Kendal’s new book, After Saturday ComesSunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East, is presently being published by Wipf and Stock (Eugene, OR, USA) and will be available shortly.