THE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT charity, Christian Aid, fears that the turmoil in Sudan could push refugees into South Sudan, and is working with partners on the ground to prepare for the trickle to become a wave of displaced people crossing the porous and unstable border with its northern neighbour.

Clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are spreading into the bordering regions of South Darfur and Blue Nile, raising fears of a return to all-out-war in a country with a history of armed conflict.

There are also worries about South Sudan’s fragile peace process from disrupted cross border trade, including food and fuel supplies. The country is dependent on neighbouring Sudan’s oil infrastructure for its exports.

James Wani, Christian Aid South Sudan Country Director, said: “South Sudan is already facing a severe food emergency. There is a significant shortfall in humanitarian funding. If this conflict in Sudan doesn’t stop soon, and refuges start crossing the border in large numbers, then this will exacerbate an existing humanitarian crisis.”

Christian Aid is calling on the South Sudanese government not to diverge from its commitment to implementing both the peace agreement and formation of the government of national unity which requires citizen engagement. The charity had to halt its church-led peacebuilding efforts in South Sudan after UK government cuts to aid budgets in 2021.

South Sudan formally broke away from its northern neighbour in 2011 after one of Africa’s longest and bloodiest civil wars. Faith leaders have played a prominent role in sustaining the national peace process by building trust between different factions.

More than 85 per cent of South Sudan’s national budget depends on oil exports, which are in turn dependent on the oil pipelines that cross Sudan to Port Sudan for export. If the pipelines are damaged, the likelihood is a rapid and significant deterioration to Sudan’s economy and increased political instability.

* Source: Christian Aid