Tuesday, January 22, 2013

RLPB 194. SUDAN: racial-religious genocide in 'new south'. 'Worse than Darfur' -- but who cares?

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 194 | Wed 23 Jan 2013

'Worse than Darfur' -- but who cares?
By Elizabeth Kendal

In 1992, during its war against South Sudan, Khartoum declared a jihad against the 'rebellious' Nuba: the African tribes of the north's Nuba Mountains who along with the southerners were resisting Islamisation and racist Arab supremacy. A government-sponsored fatwa legitimised the jihad by labelling Muslim 'rebels' as 'apostates' and Christians as 'kaffirs [infidels / unbelievers] standing as a bulwark against the spread of Islam', and affirming that 'Islam has granted the freedom of killing both categories'. Nothing has changed -- same genocidal regime, same racial and religious hatred, same jihad, same aim: genocide.

Reporting on the situation across Sudan's 'new south' -- Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile -- Dr Mukesh Kapila, the former UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Sudan (2003-04) laments: 'The ethnic cleansing is largely complete.  . . . Rebel areas are depopulated and largely empty.' He says that in Blue Nile, some 450,000 people have been affected with fields and villages being razed as Sudanese radio calls for the region to be 'combed' and cleansed of Africans who are de-humanised as 'black plastic bags'. He reports that in South Kordofan -- where soldiers have been ordered to 'sweep out the trash' (i.e. the Africans) and 'eat them alive' -- displaced families have retreated to remote cave networks where food is scarce. Whilst many are determined to remain, saying 'This is our country', others are simply too weak to attempt the long trek south. It is a journey that is itself incredibly dangerous, for Khartoum wants the Nuba not just gone, but dead -- unable to return.  A delegation from HART (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust) recently confirmed that on 12 December 2012 1700 civilians from Ulu Payam (Kirmuk County) left for South Sudan, only to be attacked en route by SAF (Sudan Armed Forces) ground troops. Many were killed and many children scattered, with only 700 of the original 1700 arriving in Maban, South Sudan.

Dr Kapila adds: 'What I've seen in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile is all that I've seen in Darfur, plus the addition of modern technology. Ten years after, we have precision guided missiles, land mines which I don't remember seeing in Darfur, anti-personnel bombs, cluster bombs which I did not see in Darfur, we see MiG fighters which I don't remember seeing in Darfur, and we have a much more precision-guided approach with distance over the horizon artillery. So this is not just another Darfur; quite possibly, it is worse than Darfur.'

Human Rights Watch estimates that a total of 900,000 African (non-Arab) Sudanese are now affected. Having razed the farms and villages, the regime maintains a blockade on humanitarian aid, using starvation as a weapon of mass destruction. This has long been the regime's preferred method of mass killing: engineering a famine and just waiting as the population turns skeletal and quietly drops into the dust. Khartoum has a long history of this type of warfare -- indeed President Omar el-Bashir has perfected mass murder and his conscience is untroubled. Despite this, the US administration has assured Khartoum that it is not seeking regime change but rather normalising relations. This is because the US believes friendship with Khartoum is in its geo-strategic interests on the spurious grounds that it thinks Khartoum could be helpful in the fight against terrorism. In truth, the West's interests would be better served if it feared the LORD!

Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail of the Anglican Cathedral in Kadugli only survived the ethnic-cleansing of Kadugli (the capital of South Kordofan) because he was receiving medical treatment in the US when Kadugli was invaded and ethnically cleansed in June 2011. This week Bishop Andudu and Dr Kapila will attend the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa to lobby for action to end the suffering in Sudan's 'new south'. They have identified Friday 25 January 2013 'Heads of State meeting on Sudan' as a key test of the AU's 'credibility'. Bishop Andudu is praying the AU will soon take action and send humanitarian aid, implement a ceasefire and  send a delegation to the conflict areas. 'That [would] be very helpful,' he said.

HISTORICAL NOTE: In 1913 the newly formed Sudan United Mission (SUM) Australia-New Zealand began sending pioneer missionaries into the Nuba Mountains. The first 'Sudanese Church of Christ in the Nuba Mountains' was planted in 1914. By 1936 there were 33 Australian and New Zealand SUM missionaries working in the Nuba Mountains alongside others who had arrived from various missions (in particular Church Missionary Society) and from the USA. After Sudan became independent in 1956 under a repressive Muslim, Arabist government, the missionaries, sensing their time was limited, redoubled their efforts in Bible translation. By the time the missionaries were forced to leave in 1962, Australian SUM (now Pioneers) missionaries had translated the New Testament into five Nuba languages. Today the Nuba are predominantly Christian. Germany, the USA, New Zealand and particularly Australia, all have strong spiritual ties (does that imply responsibilities?) to the people of the Nuba Mountains. May this centenary year be the year the battle is turned back. Remember - our struggle is not primarily against flesh and blood. (Ephesians 6:12)


* intervene in Sudan, so that 'the wicked will be caught in the schemes that they have devised' (Psalm 10:2b ESV).

* 'Break the arm [the machinery of action] of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none' (v15); may the machinery of evil -- the government in Khartoum, the Sudan Armed Forces, the military hardware -- be disrupted so that forces of liberty, justice and equality might be able to rise against it.

* show Omar el-Bashir and all who wield power in Khartoum (vv3-13) that YAHWEH reigns and is King forever (v16).

* see the suffering of the victims (Ps 10:14), hear their cry (v17a), strengthen their hearts (v17b) and provide them with justice (v18a) 'so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more' (v18b).


According to Dr Mukesh Kapila, the former UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Sudan (2003-04), the ethnic cleansing of Sudan's 'new south' -- Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile -- 'is largely complete'. He comments that due to advances in technology, this war is 'worse than Darfur'. Displaced Africans (non-Arabs) unable to reach the massively over-populated refugee camps in South Sudan have retreated to remote caves. Having destroyed their food supply, the Arab-Islamist regime is blockading all humanitarian aid and using starvation as a weapon of mass destruction. These Africans are predominantly Christian. Christianity in the Nuba Mountains dates back nearly a century to when pioneer missionaries from Sudan United Mission Australia-New Zealand planted the first church there in 1914. Please pray for the Lord to intervene in Sudan.


Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
"Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah speaks to Christians today"
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)