By Elizabeth Kendal
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) 120 Special to ASSIST News Service
AUSTRALIA (ANS) -- [For background see RLPB 113 (22 June 2011) & RLPB 117 (20 July 2011) at Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin]
Daily bombing raids targeting the Nuba populations of South Kordofan have resulted in significant loss of life and destruction of properties, including homes, crops and livestock. While the UN estimates that some 73,000 Nuba have been displaced, the former deputy governor of South Kordofan, Abdel Aziz el-Hilu, estimates the figure is closer to 500,000. Nuba seeking to flee the region are being intercepted and killed at roadblocks. Numerous tens of thousands of Nuba, many of whom are wounded, have been forced to seek shelter in hillside caves where they have nothing to eat but grass and leaves. The rainy season is making survival even more difficult. Furthermore the Government of Sudan (GoS) has sealed off the region so that humanitarian aid cannot get in.
Without intervention, mass starvation will be inevitable.
The GoS has considerable experience in waging genocide. Scorched earth warfare followed by denial of humanitarian aid has been used in the Nuba Mountains (early 1990s), Bahr el-Ghazal (South Sudan, 1998) and Darfur to kill many tens of thousands of Africans in just a few months. Yet while Khartoum is engineering a famine in the Nuba Mountains, it is also congratulating itself for pouring aid worth nearly two million dollars into famine relief in Somalia (Sudan Tribune, 28 July). That too is standard for Khartoum which routinely starves its own people while exporting food and receiving food aid.
[For more on how Khartoum uses starvation as a weapon of mass destruction, see 'Why is Akobo hungry?' By Elizabeth Kendal for Religious Liberty Monitoring, 9 April 2010]
Whilst the GoS's motive is greed and its goal is the theft of resource-rich land, it recruits fighters amongst Arab-Islamists with the language of Islamic jihad. In April 1992 Muslim clerics in South Kordofan issued a fatwa for the GoS that legitimised killing the Nuba as 'apostates' (Muslims not supporting the regime) and 'infidels' (unbelievers) 'who stand as a bulwark against the spread of Islam'. Today the Nuba are again being labelled rebels and infidels, and are being targeted by Islamic jihad to facilitate the ethnic cleansing of this resource-rich region.
Bradford Phillips is the founder and president of Persecution Project Foundation and the director (Sudan) of Voice of the Martyrs. He recently returned from 12 days in the Nuba Mountains. On Thursday 4 August he gave eye-witness testimony to a US House of Representatives subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights. To Phillips 'the issue is genocide'. He is gravely concerned about the humanitarian crisis facing Sudan's largest Christian community.'There are 70,000 to 90,000 people that are probably going to die in the next month to two months,' he warns. Local Nuba told Phillips the GoS views the church as an extension of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement which the GoS deems a 'foreign' force, although it is not. Phillips heard stories of pastors being arrested and horrifically tortured by soldiers seeking to extract the names of church members. Refusing to betray their flock, many pastors have been imprisoned, whilst some have died under torture or been executed.
Also testifying before the House Committee was Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, the Anglican Bishop of Kadugli. Andudu has been told soldiers searched for him house-to-house. He believes that had he not been in the US for medical treatment he would now be lying in a mass grave. Bisho p Andudu is pleading for intervention.
Like other Sudan experts Brad Phillips is calling for action that would neutralise/destroy Khartoum's Antonov bombers. Dedicated religious liberty and persecuted church advocate Congressman Frank R Wolf pleaded passionately for the Church to stand up and speak up for its persecuted brothers and sisters in Sudan. As Phillips told a CBN interview on 6 August, the most important thing the Church can do is 'intercede through prayer'.
[For more information on the 4 August hearing with links to transcripts and videos, see "Nuba Genocide: U.S. House Committeee hears testimony", By Elizabeth Kendal for Religious Liberty Monitoring, 10 Aug 2011.]
PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL --
- draw the Nuba and the global Church into dependent prayer for divine intervention; for the LORD will surely rise to show compassion at the sound of our cry (Isaiah 30:18,19). May Khartoum's bombers be neutralised and Omar el-Bashir's arrogant and racist reign of terror be ended. (Psalm 10)
'Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.' (Isaiah 40:10,11 ESV)
- provide displaced Nuba with their every need of shelter, food, healing and protection; may he ease their anxiety, bring rest to their souls and increase their faith.
- protect Nuba pastors, hiding them from those who intend to torture and kill them; may those imprisoned be protected and preserved, experiencing God's presence and being assured of his love.
|Elizabeth Kendal is an international religious liberty analyst and advocate. This prayer bulletin was initially written for the Australian Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (AEA RLC).|
Elizabeth Kendal's blogs:
Religious Liberty Monitoring and Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin