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The Statement of Church Leaders on The Ongoing Armed Conflict in Upper Nile


We the Sudanese Church leaders meeting today the 5th of the April 2004 at the SCC Secretariat in Khartoum deeply reflected on the ongoing fighting between GoS Militias and the SPLA which started on the 16th of February 2004 un to date around Malakal, in particular the Southern part of Malakal and Western bank of the White Nile which covers the villages from Tonga, which is about 60 Km south of Malakal and Pathau which is about 30 Km in the north, including the village of the Collo King, the Reth. We have reliably learned that over a hundred civilians have already lost their live, more that eight villages burned to ashes, property looted and many people got displaced into and around Malakal town.

We are very much puzzled that these hostilities are taking place at the time the SPLM/A and the Government of Sudan are engaged in what is viewed by both the Sudanese people and the international community as advanced peace talks in Naivasha - Kenya. Moreover, the parties have just renewed their agreement on cessation of hostilities which is binding on them. We therefore found no any other explanation except that the parties have breached this agreement.

As Church leaders we are mandated by our faith to have the prophetic voice to speak out clearly at any time for those who are suffering. And at this moment, the suffering people in the Collo village around Malakal.

We therefore call the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A to sincerely commit themselves to the Cessation of hostilities Agreement which they have just renewed. They must therefore stop the ongoing fighting around Malakal immediately.

While we strongly encouraged and support the IGAD Sudan Peace Process and commend the progress already made, we call the IGAD Secretariat and Partners to remind the parties to the process to stick to their commitment at this crucial stage.

There are about 60.000 displaced people in Malakal town and the areas around. These people have nothing for their survival such as food, shelter, clothing and other basic services. Therefore we are calling for an immediate intervention by humanitarian actors to alleviate their suffering.

We reiterate our continued commitment to always identify the suffering, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.

Signed :

1- Rev David Obala Okuny , Vice mediator Presbyterian Church of the Sudan (PCOS)

2- Rt Rev Ezekiel Kondo, Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS)

3- Rev Eng Tombe Stephen, the interim Provincial Secretary Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS)

4- Rev Fermo Ogilla Utong, General Overseer -Sudan Pentecostal Church (SPC)

5- Bishop Sarabamon, the Coptic Orthodox Bishop - Omdurman (COC)

6- Bishop Elie, the Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Khartoum (COC)
7- Evangelist John Kaya Nyaka, Vice President Sudan Interior Church (SIC)

8- Fr. Lawrence Lodu Kose, Sudan Catholic Bishop Conference (SCBC)

9- Rev Taban Elonai Andarago, African Inland Church (AIC)

10- Rev John Tong Puk, Chairman Sudan Council of Churches (SCC)

11- Rev Paul Chol Deng, General secretary Sudan Council Churches (SCC)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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