Bishops in Sudan concerned about violenceSunday, May 13th, 2012
The Bishops of Sudan and South Sudan have postponed their annual Plenary Assembly because of tension and outbreaks of violence between the two countries.
Fides has reported that Cardinal Zubeir Wako, Archbishop of Khartoum and President of the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference (SCBC), has cancelled the Assembly that was to be held in Juba (South Sudan) from June 12 to 17. The re-scheduling will depend on political developments.
Tension between the two countries has not decreased in recent times. In fact, Southern Sudan has accused the air force of Khartoum of having bombed several locations in its territory, in particular in the Upper Nile, Unity and Western Bahr el-Ghazal. However, this has not been confirmed by independent sources of southern Sudanese accusations.
Both Khartoum and Juba claim to respect the cease-fire imposed by the resolution, approved on May 4 by the UN Security Council.
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reported late last month that in the Nuba Mountains (in Southern Sudan), aircraft have been dropping bombs on civilians. Many have been killed, and others have suffered severe injuries such as the loss of limbs or burns to the face and body.
“Thousands have fled their homes, hunger is spreading and large numbers of children are under threat. Yet the government of North Sudan does not permit non-governmental organisations to distribute foodstuffs or build camps for the refugees,” said the local ACN representative who added that the Church in the area is playing an important role.
ACN also reports that experts predict that a new war in Sudan could have even more fatal consequences than the civil war between 1983 and 2005, which cost more than two million lives and made many millions homeless.
Since the independence of South Sudan, which was formally declared on July 9 2011, there has been a dispute between the two countries about the location of some sections of the border.
by Ann Marie Foley