South Sudan: Fledgling Christian Nation Faces New War
Political ambition is threatening to inflict civil war and renewed misery on the people of South Sudan, the only Christian nation within the 10/40 Window. South Sudanese endured horrendous suffering during the previous long-running civil war inflicted on them by the Islamist regime in Khartoum, in which two million died and four million were displaced.
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Leaders signed a Peace Agreement in 2005, giving the people of South Sudan the right to become independent. The new nation of South Sudan was born on 9 July 2011.
In July 2013, President Salva Kiir, a member of the Dinka tribe, removed former Vice-President, Riek Machar, from the Nuer tribe, from office. In December, fighting in the capital Juba escalated into a major rebellion led by Machar.
President Kiir offered peace talks but Machar initially procrastinated, prolonging the conflict and the suffering. Both sides are now represented in peace talks in Ethiopia.
Machar has criticized President Kiir’s track record. However, Machar himself has an appalling track record. He changed sides during the civil war in order to be on the winning side. He was also responsible for one of the worst massacres of the entire war.
Baroness Caroline Cox, cross-bench member of the British House of Lords, is Chief Executive of Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, an NGO, which provides aid and advocacy for victims of oppression and persecution.
Baroness Cox, who has visited Sudan and South Sudan many times, including during the previous civil war, told WIN: “Riek Machar is a purely greedy politician and he carried out one of the worst massacres in the South during the previous war. He’s the one who’s now led this uprising against the government. It seems he is trying to topple the President or gain some other advantage for himself, possibly even making a deal with Khartoum - though it is too early to say anything definite.”
In the massacre in 1991, Machar and his breakaway SPLA faction killed an estimated 2,000 civilians in Bor, South Sudan, and wounded several thousand more. At least 100,000 people were displaced after the attack. The result was famine in Bor, as Machar’s forces looted and burnt villages, and raided cattle. Amnesty International said an estimated 25,000 more people died from hunger. Machar later admitted responsibility, saying: “I should take squarely the responsibility of the events of 1991.”
**Stop Press** There are fears that the latest violence in the country could drag on after the South Sudan government accused the UN of running a “parallel government" and said it was “at war” with the UN. Uganda’s military intervention in support of the South Sudan government is deterrning peace talks. Around 500,000 people have been displaced by the conflict and well over 1,000 killed. The UN is deploying an extra 5,500 peacekeepers to the area, to bring its forces up to 12,500.
Pray for permanent peace and stability to be restored and maintained in South Sudan (The Bible, 1 Timothy 2:2).
Pray for those displaced to be able to return safely to their homes (The Bible, Isaiah 32:18).
Pray for the South Sudan government, along with the assistance of the international community to develop South Sudan as a genuine democracy (The Bible, Jeremiah 34:15).
Pray for leaders of other countries, churches, organizations and individuals to provide food, shelter, well trained and loving teachers, upright business leaders, medical supplies and health facilities to build a strong and fair infrastructure where every person in South Sudan receives the assistance they need (The Bible, Isaiah 61:1).
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