A year of Civil War: Sudan Ecumenical solidarity towards healing and reconciliation - FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN COUNCILS AND CHURCHES IN THE GREAT LAKES AND HORN OF AFRICA (FECCLAHA)

A year of Civil War: Sudan Ecumenical solidarity towards healing and reconciliation

Mid April 2023 marked the day when fighting broke out in Sudan’s capital Khartoum following an escalating power struggle  between two main factions; the Sudanese armed forces led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan- the country’s de facto ruler and paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti. This has not only led to loss of lives but also left more than 8 million people displaced; others forced to flee whereas the country’s entire population is left in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

FECCLAHA among other ecumenical organizations namely: World Council of Churches (WCC), All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), ACT Alliance, and Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church united to support Sudan through solidarity and advocacy for an end to the year-long conflict. This follows continuous ecumenical virtual consultations with the church in Sudan on the state of peace in the country.

During the visit to Sudan in April 2024, the delegation paid a visit to internally displaced persons camping at the Red Sea and Mayo Girls’ Schools in Port Sudan: The delegation gave immediate relief support in terms of cash etc to ease challenges the displaced persons encounter such as lack basic necessities such as food, proper shelter, healthcare access as well as sexual and gender-based violence among other issues. “Despite our inability to access other parts of the country owing to restrictions of movement on non-Sudanese, I observed many people living in displacement camps especially schools, an indication that there was no learning going on in those schools as well. I saw the suffering of women and girls considering their specific needs”, said Fr. James Oyet, FECCLAHA Chairperson.

To foster sustainable redress to such plights, the delegation further engaged religious leaders (Christians and Muslim), women and youth from whom they got a wider insight on what was happening in other parts of the country. The insights formed the basis of the delegation’s appeal for an urgent long-term peace building through healing and reconciliation in Sudan. Their key message to the Sudanese government was an end to the war. “The message from the different groups of people we met was clear- help us end this war, be our voices outside Sudan”, recounted Rev. Dr. Ibrahim Wushishi, a delegate and general secretary of the Christian Council in Nigeria.

Sudanese Anglican Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo commended the ecumenical organizations for the effort to visit Sudan amidst the conflict to assess the conflict situation. He observed that accessibility of the country and its leadership was a sign of openness for help and appealed for the strengthening of humanitarian assistance expressing fears that more people are likely to die of hunger. “We appreciate your coming to Sudan at this critical moment to stand with us in our suffering and urge you to be the voice of the Sudanese people for healing, reconciliation and peace in the country especially now that there’s  little about the plight of Sudanese in the international media”, he said.

Additionally, the delegation met humanitarian agencies and the vice president of the sovereign council who underscored the need for urgent interventions to stop the war which they say has taken a toll on the nation and its citizenry. The ecumenical bodies are making every effort to reach out to and engage the leader of the RSF on matters peace and reconciliation in the country.