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Southern Sudan: Serious Clash Threatens Peace (plus Iraq update)

December 14, 2006

For many years prior to January 2005, the plight of the long-
suffering, intensely persecuted, predominantly Christian peoples of
Southern Sudan was a regular feature in these WEA Religious Liberty
Prayer (RLP) Bulletins. The Southern Sudanese suffered 21 years of
aerial bombardments, helicopter gunship assaults, scorched earth
warfare, massacres, systematic slavery, forced Islamisation and
engineered famine at the hands of the Government of Sudan
(GoS)/National Islamic Front alliance and their numerous government-
sponsored Islamic militias.

That jihad claimed two million lives and created more than four
million refugees. Tens of thousands of African southerners were
abducted and sold into slavery in the Arab north. The war left the
south totally traumatised and devastated, struggling to cope
without infrastructure and with problems found nowhere else in the
world, such as Guinea worm and \'nodding disease\'. In spite of all
this, the Church in Southern Sudan grew from five percent in 1960
to an estimated 70 percent in 2000. The Comprehensive Peace Accord
signed in January 2005 was the result of several years of volatile,
fragile, on/off negotiations, each stage of which was covered by
RLPs for specific prayer. The peace accord was nothing less than a
miracle of God.

But we cannot take this peace for granted. South Sudan\'s autonomy
has enabled it to reject Islamisation but that goes against all
Islamist ideology. What\'s more, Sudan\'s oil wealth is located in
the south and the GoS is a belligerent, narcissistic rogue regime.
Little has been done towards implementing the peace deal. The GoS
is far too busy sponsoring the massacring of civilians in Darfur.

Malakal, on the Nile River, is the capital of Upper Nile State,
Southern Sudan. It is close to the north-south border and is
potentially one of the most oil-rich regions in Sudan. During the
latter part of its jihad the GoS armed and sponsored militias in
Malakal to enable it to extract oil from the war zone. In late
November 2006 soldiers from a Khartoum-sponsored militia led by
Maj.-Gen. Gabriel Tang of the north\'s Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF)
attacked two soldiers of the south\'s Sudanese People\'s Liberation
Army (SPLA), killing one. SPLA soldiers pursued the perpetrators
who fled to a GoS-sponsored army barrack. At that point the
conflict escalated into a full-scale military confrontation. By the
time UN troops restored order, up to 300 people were dead
(including an estimated 50 civilians) and some 500 were wounded, in
an area where medical clinics are in short supply of everything,
including doctors. The water has been cut off. Corpses have
polluted the Nile and there is concern about cholera. Worse still
is the fear that war could resume. Incidents between the SAF and
the SPLA have increased over recent months causing mounting
tensions. The eyes of the world are on Darfur. Islamic revolution,
to which GoS unashamedly aspires, is on the rise. Territorially
acquisitive Islamic jihad is erupting in the Horn of Africa. We
cannot take South Sudan\'s peace for granted.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR:

* God to intervene in Sudan, removing those intent on provoking
conflict and threatening peace; may the hearts of the people
desire peace, progress and liberty.

* our Lord who sees and provides (Jehovah-jireh) to provide
supplies, strength and security to pastors, teachers, doctors,
leaders and all those involved in spiritual and physical relief
and development in Southern Sudan, that they might bring healing
to Southern Sudan\'s people and land.

* God in his great power and mercy to strip power from Omar
al-Bashir and his belligerent Islamist regime, and raise up just
leaders who will promote and preserve peace and religious
liberty.

\'[God] brings princes to nothing and makes the rulers of the earth
as emptiness. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely
has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and
they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.\'
(Isaiah 40:23,24 ESV)

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SUMMARY TO USE IN BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE:
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SERIOUS CLASH THREATENS PEACE IN SOUTH SUDAN

>From 1983 to January 2005 the predominantly Christian peoples of
Southern Sudan suffered immensely under the violent Islamic jihad
of the Islamist Government of Sudan (GoS). The Comprehensive Peace
Agreement signed in January 2005 is not being implemented. Most
seriously, clashes are occurring between Southern Sudan\'s army and
GoS-sponsored militias. Malakal in Southern Sudan is oil rich.
Recently a GoS-sponsored militia provoked a clash that escalated
into a significant military confrontation that left around 300 dead
and 500 wounded. Islamists in Khartoum have always opposed peace on
ideological grounds and the GoS is hungry for the south\'s oil.
After 21 years of suffering and loss, the Southern Sudanese dread
the prospect of a return to war. Please pray for peace and
deliverance from evil.

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IRAQ PRAISE NOTE: Last week\'s RLP 407 requested prayer for the safe
return of another kidnapped Iraqi priest. Compass Direct reports
that Father Samy Abdulahad Al-Raiys was freed after six days.

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The WEA Religious Liberty Commission sponsors this
RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray
specifically and regularly for religious liberty
issues, and in particular to uphold the Church
where it is suffering persecution.

RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.