By Bellah Zulu, ACNS
A bishop in Sudan has bemoaned the worsening war situation in his country. He said the continuing air bombardment on civilians and lack of humanitarian aid has increased the immigration of people from his diocese to neighbouring countries.
Bishop of Kadugli Diocese, the Rt Revd Andudu Adam Elnail said this in a report to highlight activities of “pastoral, administrative work and participation in peace talks between the Government of Sudan and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in North".
No safe haven for immigrants
More than 200,000 Nuba People had sought refuge in the Republic of South Sudan only to find themselves in another war torn area. “Many got confused and traumatized and some ran back to the war zone areas in the Nuba Mountains preferring to die in their home land,” reported Bishop Andudu.
The Bishop and his team decided to follow their displaced flock into neighbouring countries including Uganda, the Republic of South Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia.
“Pastoring and visiting all my people in these countries alone is very hard,” said the Bishop. “I was however encouraged by the Provincial decision late last year approving an assistant bishop to the diocese of Kadugli to help me in pastoring, visiting and encouraging the flock wherever they are.”
Anglicans worldwide take action
The worsening situation in Sudan and South Sudan has caught the attention of the Anglican Communion. The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, PWRDF is just one of several Anglican agencies who have been raising funds for the situation there.
Simon Chambers from PWRDF reports that the organisation recently contributed an additional $35,000 through the ACT Alliance for continuing relief work in Darfur. “The ACT program will help over 586,000 people to have access to food, clean water, sanitation, improved health, education for children, and jobs for adults,” he said.
He added: “PWRDF has also contributed US$20,000 to ACT’s program that will provide food and basic goods (cooking tools, bedding, clothes, etc.) to 3000 households who have fled the violence.”
This is in addition to the US$20,000 that PWRDF sourced early this year to provide relief to newly arrived refugees at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.
A flourishing church in diaspora
Despite the challenges that come with living in a foreign country, Sudan Christians are flourishing in diaspora. In Uganda for instance, the Church is growing under the leadership of the Revd Jaleela Ayoub.
“They used to have fellowship from home to home every Saturday and Sunday evening, but membership has now grown to over a one hundred, especially in school holidays when children are back from boarding schools,” said Bp Andudu.
“It was decided that the fellowship leaders should approach Church of Uganda to assist in finding a space for worship. The church is united, children are very active, creative in worship and many of them can lead and share their testimonies.”
Number of Anglicans in refugee camps on the rise
Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya was another place visited by the bishop as he made his rounds in the neighbouring countries. It’s reported that the number of refugees has grown significantly since the war erupted in South Sudan.
“The number of Episcopalians from Diocese of Kadugli increased to 1,389, many of them are youth,” said the Bishop. “The number of the churches increased to three congregations and the many talents and spiritual growth especially among the youth is what I admired most.”
Many were confirmed at a service attended by many people from different denominations and Episcopalians from South Sudan.
Anglican church an important player in peace talks
Bishop Andudu of Kadugli Diocese was invited by the African Union in Ethiopia to participate in peace talks between the Government of Sudan and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in North (SPLM/N) and led an expert team consisting of four advisors.
He said, “As the experts we advised the two parties to consider the suffering nation and that this was the right time for reaching agreement to bring peace to the region and stop the bloodshed.”
“We suggested ways that can help bring in humanitarian aid to the affected people even though the two parties failed to agree and the meeting got adjourned by the chairman. We need prayers for the two parties and all mediators to bring peace to Sudan,” said Bp Andudu.
“It’s saddening to meet hundreds of brilliant youth in the countries I have visited who, despite having finished secondary schools, cannot be admitted into universities due to financial constraints and other effects of war.”
The Bishop encouraged the International community to “increase it’s efforts in understanding the complex problems and root causes of wars which have taken more than five decades in Sudan.”