From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] Sudanese Christians pray in hope that peace talks

Date Tue, 12 Aug 2003 17:14:51 -0500

Note #7879 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

Sudanese Christians pray in hope that peace talks resume
August 12, 2003

Sudanese Christians pray in hope that peace talks resume

By Fredrick Nzwili
Ecumenical News International

NAIROBI - Sudanese church leaders and their followers in exile in Kenya have
called on Christians around the world to pray for their "bleeding nation"
ahead of peace talks that were to start Aug. 11.

"The south of Sudan is flooded with graves. Thousands of people have died,
but this does not mean God has forsaken us," Sudanese Anglican priest, the
Rev. Paul Benjamina told a gathering in Nairobi Aug. 9. "The dead are not
bones but martyrs. The time will come when we shall remember them."

The Christians had gathered to pray for peace in Sudan and for the success of
the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a conflict resolution
body that sponsored negotiations and is seeking to forge a peace between the
mainly Christian and animist south of the country, and the Muslim-dominated

The peace talks were to have resumed on Aug. 10 in Nanyuki in central Kenya,
against a backdrop of bitter disagreements over a draft peace accord, which
the mediators had presented in talks last month. But a motor accident
prevented a key official attending and the meetings were postponed for a day.

Last year, the two sides agreed to waive Islamic law in non-Muslim areas and
to allow southerners a referendum on secession after a six-year transition,
but people from the south fear the Sudanese government is wavering on the

"Do not give in, in spite of all these tribulations. Those who have attained
their freedom never gave up," said the Rev. George Wanjau, former moderator
of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa.

According to West Yugulle of the New Sudan Council of Churches, the church
has been participating in peace building in Sudan. "However, difference among
our people have bogged us down on the road towards liberating ourselves," he

The Sudan People's Liberation Army has been fighting since 1983 for
independence for the south. International agencies estimate the war has
killed 1.5 million people and displaced 4 million, in a country with an
estimated 2 million Christians, 9 million people who follow traditional
religious beliefs, and 26 million Muslims.

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