24 April 2023, The Tablet

Church leaders call for ceasefire in Sudan as crisis deepens

Church leaders call for ceasefire in Sudan as crisis deepens

Jordanians evacuated from Sudan arrive at a military airport in Amman, Jordan, earlier today.
AP Photo/Raad Adayleh.

The World Council of Churches has called for an immediate ceasefire in Sudan as governments rushed to evacuate citizens.

WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay has appealed for an end to the fighting that broke out on 15 April, urging the military to return to the path towards democracy. He expressed “deep sadness” at the sudden escalation of the conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), loyal to the de facto president General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by his deputy General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

The Archbishop of Canterbury expressed concern through a tweet saying, “Lord God, protect the civilians, bring peace to this appalling crisis in the nation’s life, and allow political stability to return.” Pope Francis appealed for peace on the weekend the violence erupted and again on Sunday.

The fierce fighting has caused the suspension of many schools, health facilities, markets and other basic services, as well as of vital humanitarian operations in the country. In particular, three hospitals in Khartoum are out of service due to nearby artillery fire or being used as military barracks. Added to these is the El Fasher hospital in North Darfur. Doctors are saying that medical supplies, including drugs and blood bags, are running out. The International Red Cross has reported that “medical assistance cannot be provided because medical supplies have run out and all airports are blocked…. the situation is desperate."

People trapped in Khartoum are short of food, water and medical supplies. According to the World Health Organisation on Monday, at least 400 people have been killed and more than 3,500 injured.

The Episcopal Church of Sudan had its cathedral compound raided in Khartoum.

And 15 people were locked for several days inside a Greek Orthodox church in the Sudanese capital where the Orthodox Easter was being celebrated. The Orthodox Metropolitan of Nubia and all of Sudan, Bishop Savvas, reported that he and the others could not leave because "it was very dangerous". They could hear gunshots around the church.

Around 10,000 refugees have entered South Sudan from Sudan in recent days to flee the fighting. A similar number of Sudanese civilians from the Darfur region have fled into Chad, prompting a refugee emergency.

On Monday Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed that British diplomats and their families have been evacuated from Sudan in a "complex and rapid" operation. He said work was continuing to ensure the safety of British nationals who remain in Sudan. However, some Britons still in the country – probably numbering several thousand – complain of feeling abandoned by the UK government.




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