THE WORLD COUNClL OF CHURCHES (WCC) has called for prayer and global solidarity with the people of Sudan, where an escalating conflict has plunged many innocent people into a situation in which they are barely able to survive.
During a noon gathering on 19 April, WCC staff and partners prayed for all leaders of Sudan: “We pray for all regions in the Sudan – north and south, east and west – that its people may live in unity, irrespective of religion or political inclination,”
They also prayed for human fraternity among all religions. “We pray for all Muslims in Sudan that the Islamic virtues of justice and way of peace may be fulfilled in their lives especially at this time during the month of Ramadan. We pray for meaningful and timely intervention from the international community to prevent the outbrea of civil war in the land and this region of Africa.”
Those gathered in-person and online also prayed for a dawn of new life among the people of Sudan.“May they all learn from history and embark with confidence on a path of peace,” the prayer concluded. “May God grant manifold grace and assurance for justice, with prosperity to the people of Sudan.”
Survival amid worsening conditions
Currently, the priority is survival, reported the Rev.Ibrahim Wushishi Yusuf, WCC programme executive for Peacebuilding in the African Region, who has been fielding reports from those on the ground in Sudan. “It’s not possible currently to do anything. Aerial bombing, shelling and heavy gunfire makes it impossible for any organisation to do anything”, he said. Yusuf also reported that the airport has been completely bombed out, with water and electricity cut off for most people around Khartoum.
“So until a ceasefire is accepted and the no fly zone rescinded there is nothing any one can do other than pray,” said Yusuf, echoing voices on the ground. “Much will be needed after everything settles especially in Khartoum and Western Sudan where most humanitarian organisations have lost everything to looters.”
Yusuf also reported that people are in terrible fear, lacking food, electricity and drinking water in many areas, while many are unable to reach their homes. “There is no clarity about when things will cool down but we trust that with our prayer God will intervene and give wisdom to the leaders and reach some agreements to stop this war.”
Fighting broke out on the morning of 15 April in and around Khartoum between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces. The fighting followed months of rising tensions, though the two factions had formerly cooperated closely in the past.
Over 180 people have been reported killed, with more than 1,800 people injured. Humanitarian activities have been interrupted in many states with many reports of looting humanitarian assets. Several hospitals have run out of vital medical supplies or have closed. Schools, markets, and other basic services have closed or reduced their operations due to shelling and insecurity.
Many people – including staff of the Sudan Council of Churches – have been trapped in the offices or workplaces for days due to the unforeseen and sudden onset of the fighting.
“The situation is worsening,” said Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo the head of a WCC member church in Sudan. “Some forces entered the cathedral premises and began to open our cars with guns! Thank you for your prayers. Continue to pray for safety of the church.” The Evangelical Church in Bahri City was hit by ammunition which exploded and caused a fire.
As people relayed the terrible situation in Sudan, they unequivocally called for prayer. “As we consider all the ways in which we can accompany and be in solidarity with the people of Sudan at this most challenging time, the one act of solidarity which is in our power to do is to pray”, said the Rev Dr Mikie Roberts, WCC programme executive for Spiritual Life. “We do [so] believing that this act as well as other expressions of solidarity will lead to justice, peace, reconciliation and unity.”
* Source: World Council of Churches