Christian leaders condemn terror in Sudan's Kordofan

June 14, 2011

Nairobi, June 14 (ENInews)--Christian leaders from around the world are
calling on the international community to intervene in the violence in
Sudan's Southern Kordofan border state, where an air bombing campaign is causing
"huge suffering" to civilian populations and endangering humanitarian
assistance.

Church and aid officials say more than 300,000 people are trapped, cut off
from relief and unable to flee the region where the Sudan Armed Forces has
been fighting the Sudan People's Liberation Army, the former rebels
aligned groups in the oil state. The fighting, which has been going on for a
week, is raising fears of an increased death toll, after clashes escalated to
include artillery and aircraft. 

"This violence is a major threat to the stability of Sudan just as the new
state of South Sudan is coming into being. The humanitarian challenge is
already great, and the risk of another Darfur situation, with civilian
populations at the mercy of government-supported terror, is a real one," said
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In a news release on 14 June, Williams said Christian leaders represented
in the Sudan Ecumenical Forum and Council of Churches and others throughout
the world deplored "the mounting level of aggression and bloodshed ... and
the indiscriminate violence on the part of government troops against
civilians."

On the same day, artillery shelling was reported near Kadugli, the state's
capital, while two Sudan Armed Forces planes bombed the airstrip at the
town of Kauda, in the latest in a series of aerial attacks, Hua Jiang,
spokeswoman for the U.N. Mission in Sudan, was quoted as saying in the Integrated
Regional Information Networks, a humanitarian news service.

"International awareness of this situation is essential. The U.N. Security
Council, the EU, the Arab League and the African Union need to co-operate
in guaranteeing humanitarian access and safety for citizens," Williams said.

The Sudanese government in Khartoum denies targeting civilians in the
region where many fought alongside the former rebels. Reports say the Nuba
Mountains area was one of the hardest hit and most bitterly fought over of all
in the two-decades-long civil war.

Williams said numerous villages have been bombed with more than 53,000
people being driven from their homes. A new Anglican cathedral in Kadugli has
been burned down in the fighting which has also confined in their compound,
the UN personnel in the town, such that they are unable to protect
civilians. 

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has also strongly condemned the
violence, and urged the international community to intervene in the crisis.

At its 9-14 June Council meeting in Geneva, the group urged the
international community, particularly the United Nations (U.N.) and the African Union
(AU), "to use all possible measures to stop hostilities, protect
civilians, and allow humanitarian access to all parts of Sudan, and in particular
South Kordofan."

"Eyewitness accounts from church sources indicate the Sudanese government
forces were going house-to-house, pulling out suspected opposition
sympathizers and in some instances killing them on the spot," the LWF said.

"These reports all point to a new chapter of ethnic cleansing being
carried out by the government of Sudan," the group noted. "The atrocities are
taking place in an area just north of the South Sudan border, where many of
the people support the South." 

The Rev. Andre Karamaga, the general secretary of the All Africa
Conference of Churches, said that the cry of the people to the international
community was: "please tell the world what is going on; appeal to the U.N. to
protect the people, appeal to the AU to do their part." He said the atrocities
contravened the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the pact signed between
the rebels and the government to end the civil war.