April 13, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Pulpits of mosques in the Sudanese capital Khartoum have dedicated their prayer sermon on Friday to condemning the seizure four days ago of the oil-producing town of Heglig by neighbouring South Sudan.
- FILE - Members of the Islamic Group Movement pray during a rally at the Al Shaheed Mosque in Khartoum (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)
South Sudan’s army known as the SPLA wrestled control of Heglig on Wednesday, 11 April, following clashes with the Sudanese army (SAF), Juba justified its action by saying it responded to air and ground attacks launched a day earlier by SAF deep inside South Sudan’s territories.
Heglig lies in the Sudanese state of South Kordofan which borders South Sudan. The town was allocated to Sudan as part of a 2009 ruling by the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on redrawing the boundaries of Abyei region, which is hotly contested between Sudan and South Sudan.
Sources in Khartoum told Sudan Tribune that the majority of Imams delivering sermons on Friday had fulminated against South Sudan and called on Sudanese people to unite in order to counteract “foreign aggression.”
One Sudanese netizen writing on Twitter by the name of Usamah Mohammed recounted how the Imam of the mosque in which he prayed on Friday broke into tears as he called on Allah to give them victory against agents of imperialism and Zionism.
The subtly pro-government TV station, Al-Shoroq, reported on Saturday that the leader of the National Umma Party (NUP) and Al-Ansar religious sect, Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, called during his sermon on Friday for a comprehensive and internationally-monitored ceasefire between Sudan and South Sudan.
According to Al-Shoroq, Al-Mahdi declared his party’s support for SAF until Heglig is liberated.
The leader of the Salafist Ansar Al-Suna group, Isma’il Osman Mohamed Al-Mahi, reiterated during Friday prayer sermon his party’s denunciations of South Sudan’s occupation of Heglig.
Al-Shoroq said that the Salafist leader also condemned the silence of major international organizations and countries on the occupation of a country’s territory by another country. Al-Mahi said that the enemies of Sudanese and the Muslim nation are standing behind the war in order to deplete the country’s resources.
Meanwhile, Sudan’s TV has continued to broadcast war-time programs, including Jihadist and patriotic songs, while dedicating extensive coverage to condemnations of South Sudan’s takeover of Heglig.