Photo Credit: Diocese of Egypt
[Diocese of Egypt] The Rt Revd Andudu Adam Elnail of Kadugli, capital of the Sudanese state of South Kordofan, believes that all options for the war zone he comes from have been exhausted.
“Our people cannot stand the civil war any longer. The only option is peace,” said the Bishop of Kadugli and Nuba Mountains, Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan & Sudan.
After Sudan was split into two parts in 2011, no permanent solution was agreed to for South Kordofan, a state with oil, gold and uranium. In June 2011 the Sudanese Armed Forces attacked with full force and since then the Sudanese People Liberation Army – North (SPLA-N) has fought back. This war has ravaged and depopulated large parts of the Nuba Mountains. According to Bishop Elnail, who has been a staunch critic of the attacks by Khartoum, war is no longer an option.
“Peace talks [are] what we need. No one can win this war and our people are the losers. For a while, both SPLA and the army of Khartoum believed they could win the civil war. But now, after almost four years, both parties must wake up and be realistic”, according to the Bishop. “We are fighting a war that is costly in terms of human lives, it destroys our lands, and no one is able to win this war anyway.”
Bishop Elnail has been away from his diocesan headquarter offices in Kadugli for four years now. This week he visited Kilo4.5 and the Tenth District, squatter areas east of Cairo, where thousands of refugees from his Nuba Mountains live. Their numbers continue to increase as the civil war continues. “I came here for church business and to see my mother and other family members who are refugees in Cairo. She wants to go home and live in peace in our motherland, the Nuba Mountains. It makes me sick to be far from her and that she has to live in such squalor.”
“Our churches are burned, our fields bombarded, our people killed. We have had too much war and suffering. Too many of our people are scattered in exile. We are all very, very tired. We want to return to our Nuba Mountains, to Sudan.”
Among the refugees in Cairo, Bishop Elnail has seen signs of hope. “Muslims and Christians from the Nuba Mountains live and work together peacefully. That is our dream for all of Sudan; we all gain by accepting and respecting one another. Unity in diversity is our dream. And let us now make an end to this civil war. Weapons have not been able to do this for the past four years. Let us now try it with serious dialogue. We need peace talks. This is our prayer; this is our appeal”, says Bishop Elnail.