27 November 2023, The Tablet

Sudanese beg missionaries not to abandon ‘forgotten war’

Sudan has been devastated by civil war and indiscriminate bombing since April, with at least 9,000 people killed.

Sudanese beg missionaries not to abandon ‘forgotten war’

Clouds of smoke from a post belonging to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces RSF after a drone attack launched by the Sudanese Armed Forces in Khartoum.
Imago / Alamy Stock Photo

Salesian Sisters in Khartoum, whose house was hit by a bomb on 3 November, report that local people have begged them not to leave.

The sisters were told: “As long as you are here, we have hope, do not abandon us!”

Around 20 women and 45 children given sanctuary in the house by the sisters were on the ground floor when the bomb hit the building’s first floor, but there were only minor injuries from the blast.

Missionaries have continued to operate throughout the ongoing war in Sudan, administering the sacraments and humanitarian assistance.

“Despite the deep sadness over what is happening to our communities, we are grateful to the Lord for the continued blessings that come to us in the Jeberona camp for displaced people,” reported Fr Yousif William Idris El Tom, the only Comboni missionary in Omdurman, near Khartoum.

“Among them, we have imparted the sacraments of Christian initiation to many young people in our choir along with the blessing of some couples,” he added.

However, the provincial superior of the Comboni Missionaries, Fr Diego Dalle Carbonare, reports that “three of our six communities in Sudan have been temporarily abandoned, much to our regret”.

Sudan has been devastated by civil war and indiscriminate bombing since April. At least 9,000 people have been killed in the crossfire between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), according the UN estimates.

There are more than six million internally displaced people and refugees from the conflict, while intense fighting in Khartoum has left many people in the capital struggling to survive.

Peace and human rights groups have described violence in the western region of Darfur as ethnic slaughter. The Janjaweed, who were responsible for the killing of 400,000 of Sudan's Black Africans two decades ago, and Sudan’s RSF are escalating attacks on non-Arab communities.

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