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Humanitarian situation in Sudan worsens as fighting intensifies

Prayers requested amid appeals for peace

by Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian News Service

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

LOUISVILLE — Fighting in Sudan has reached its worst levels in decades, according to a recent Reuters news report, and heavy gunfire on Tuesday has shattered a 24-hour truce.

The capital city of Khartoum, along with adjoining cities Omdurman and Bahri, were hardest hit over the weekend as fighting between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces intensified. At least 185 people have been killed and 1,800 wounded as a result of airstrikes and violence between the two factions, per a United Nations spokesperson. Power and water have been cut off in Khartoum, placing inhabitants in even greater danger.

Presbyterian World Mission’s Sharon Kandel, a mission co-worker serving in the Horn of Africa which includes Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia, asked Presbyterians to join her in praying for justice, peace, and security in Sudan.

“In the last three days there has been open fighting in the streets of Khartoum and in other regions of the country. This recent outbreak of fighting is between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia,” said Kandel. “The conflict … appears to be the result of a power struggle between the leaders of these two armed groups.”

The people of Sudan have endured several years of political and economic instability following the April 2019 military coup d’état that toppled former President Omar al-Bashir, Kandel noted. Since then, there has been a protracted contest for power between civilian and military forces. In recent months, Sudan has been struggling with food shortages, power cuts and inflation. The new fighting is magnifying these challenges, especially in Khartoum and surrounding cities.

“Let us be in prayer for the people of Sudan, particularly the women and children who often bear the biggest burden during times like this,” Kandel said. “Please pray for the [church leaders in the] Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, that they may be a voice of the people to the leaders of the country, and Sudan’s military and political leaders, that they will hear the cries of their people, stop the fighting, and restore genuine peace and security to all of Sudan.”

A news report Tuesday offered a glimmer of hope that a cease-fire had been agreed to in order to evacuate the injured. But before the cease-fire had expired, fighting had resumed.

Contributions can be made to the PC(USA)’s efforts to accompany and support partners in Sudan by making gifts to:

“Let us look to God, our help, our hope, and our salvation,” said Kandel.

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