Since this letter was first published, media outlets are reporting that fighting and panic in the Kordofan region of Sudan has intensified -- taking what The New York Times has called an "ominous turn." The Archbishop of Canterbury has also released a statement warning of the potential for "another Darfur situation" in the region.
Dear Parish Family,
According to news reports and long-standing Trinity contacts in the area, a border dispute in Southern Sudan has grown violent and could threaten the creation of an independent state in July.
Trinity Wall Street has for many years supported the efforts of effective leaders in Sudan to build a society that supports the full flourishing of the Sudanese people.
After years of devastating mutually destructive conflict, a referendum on the independence of Southern Sudan was held in 2011, with 98% of people voting in favor of independence. Trinity, along with leaders and governments throughout the world, unequivocally supports these results as the only way to find a productive end to the suffering in this part of the world.
According to referendum guidelines, the predetermined date for the creation of an independent state is July 9, 2011. As we still optimistically approach that date of change, the only obstacle is politically driven violence.
Unfortunately, Trinity’s contacts, through close communication with the Rev. Canon Benjamin Musoke-Lubega, and Ms. Sarah Grapentine, our Anglican Partnerships staff, have informed us that terrible violence has recently occurred.
According to an email dated June 9, the Rt. Rev. Andudu Adam Elnail, Bishop of Diocese of Kadugli, reported that Roman Catholic and other Christian churches, church staff, and other church properties were being targeted in his diocese. The communication records that: “The conflict and fighting broke out on 5th June, 2011, in Umdurain Villages (Nuba Mountains), between the troops of Sudan Army Forces, the ruling party, and Sudan People’s Liberation Army,” as result of a ruling regarding a recent election.
The Bishop reports that innocent civilians have been targeted and that people are "fleeing from troops all over the streets.” He also writes that “churches and pastors were directly targeted” in parish housing, and that Diocesan headquarters, including the bishop’s office, were looted and burned, and that Church of Christ in Kadugli was burned to the ground.
The United Nations has pulled its nonessential staff from the area. This report has been confirmed by Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, a longtime Trinity Wall Street partner. The New York Times has also reported on the conflagration, writing that “at least 40,000 people have fled Kadugli, a city surrounded by the Nuba Mountains, where thousands of ethnically African locals, aligned toward southern Sudan, remain armed.”
I am writing to inform you of these events, and to invite your prayers and advocacy as members of a parish that has long ties to the people of Sudan, and prays ceaselessly for a world of good. In the following days, please
1. Pray for the people of Sudan, especially those Kadugli and Abyei.
2. Advocate for peace. Tell our governmental and U.N. representatives that the peace must be held, and that the referendum’s promise must go through. (The government of Southern Sudan has said they are not going to war.)
Contacts of officials and organizations with an interest in Sudan:
Please use the comments area to mention the links and people to reach out to using the web and social media you think would be productive.
Blessings on you as you hold before God those who are suffering and in danger.
The Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper
Rector, Trinity Wall Street