Latest News — January 25, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Prayer for Sudan

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Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Sudan: Abyei Priest and South Sudan Churches call for prayer ahead of African Union meeting


Churches in South Sudan have called for a day of prayer today as the African Union Peace and Security Council meets to discuss a referendum that will determine the future of Abyei, an area claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan. Please join with CSW in praying for the region at this time.

African Union Meeting in Ethiopia

African leaders will meet today to decide whether to accept a proposal by former South African President Thabo Mbeki for a referendum in October that will determine whether Abyei remains a part of Sudan or joins South Sudan.  The proposal limits the right to vote in the referendum to the Ngok Dinka tribe and to permanent residents of Abyei. 

However, the Government of Sudan is opposed to a referendum that excludes the nomadic Arab Misseriya tribe, whose members spend a few months of each year grazing livestock in Abyei, but are not permanent residents. In early January, Misseriya leaders raised tensions by issuing a statement declaring their intention to move into Abyei permanently for the whole of 2013 in order to vote in the referendum. 

Hope for a displaced community 

If the referendum proposal is approved by the African Union and referred to the UN Security Council, it will be a significant moment for the people of Abyei, who have been waiting for two years to exercise their right to self-determination.  In May 2011, the northern armed forces invaded Abyei Town, forcing over 130,000 residents to flee, preventing access to humanitarian organisations and delaying the referendum indefinitely. They finally left in August last year, and displaced people are slowly returning to rebuild their lives.

Father Biong, a priest based in Abyei, has asked churches around the world to pray for peace to reign during and after the African Union talks. 

Please stand in solidarity with Christians in Abyei and pray for;

• The African Union leaders; that they would accept the proposed date of October 2013 for the referendum, agree that only  the Ngok Dinka and permanent residents of Abyei can vote, and refer the decision to the UN Security Council.
• That the result of the African Union talks would not lead to the return of the Sudanese Armed Forces or any violent clashes in the area between the Misseriya and the Ngok Dinka, but would be the beginning of true peace in Abyei.
• That the international community would ensure that the permanent residents of Abyei and the Ngok Dinka are able to exercise their right to self-determination in October without interference from the northern government or the Misseriya. 
• For peace between Sudan and South Sudan as the status of Abyei is resolved. 
• For humanitarian assistance to help all of the Ngok Dinka displaced from Abyei since the violence of May 2011 to return to the area and begin rebuilding their lives in the lead up to a referendum. 

 

 

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