Speaking after a meeting with the Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, Bishop of Kadugli in the Nuba Mountains, the Archbishop urged attention to be given to the plight of the affected population of these areas, both Muslim and Christian alike.
His appeal comes after the recent visit of Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak to Abyei, a town on the border of both Sudans which is set to have it’s future decided by referendum. The delegation were shocked to find the town ‘completely destroyed’ and ‘deserted apart from a few stragglers’.
“Food and basic essentials are urgently needed by the displaced population. The international community needs to wake up to the gravity of the situation. All parties need to work together to find practical ways to get help to those most in need.”
Although many people have fled to refugee camps in South Sudan and Ethiopia since fighting erupted in the Nuba Mountains and then Blue Nile last year, some 650,000 remain displaced within these areas and face critical shortages of food and other essential goods. The wider population is also facing severe trauma: aerial bombing and ground fighting have prevented two years’ planting and harvesting and resulted in the closure of most schools. Meanwhile lack of agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (North) has prevented access for much needed humanitarian assistance.
“Humanitarian access to assist the population’s basic needs is crucial but education must be included. Education is essential to the future prospects of the region. It would be a tragedy if more generations lost their chance for an education with a resulting downward spiral.
“There is much which can be done to support the communities’ own efforts towards building a peaceful future. The area has an impressive history of Christian-Muslim relations and of the church’s involvement in education on behalf of the whole community. I very hope such initiatives can continue to be encouraged. But the safety of the civilian population remains of serious concern. All parties must meet their responsibilities for the protection of civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The population deserves an urgent peaceful resolution to this conflict and to be allowed to rebuild their homes and livelihoods.”
*Photos courtesy of to Lambeth Palace.