WASHINGTON (CNS) — Saying civilian lives are at risk, Catholic leaders appealed to the international community to step up efforts to prevent full-scale war from erupting over disputed territory along the tenuous Sudan-South Sudan border.
Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok Kur of Khartoum, Sudan, said in an email to Catholic News Service that tensions between Sudan and South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, could be defused if the United Nations and the African Union would mediate the differences and attempt to determine the proper border between the two countries.
Bishop Adwok, who is from the South, said civilians in the disputed area around Heglig, a small town in Southern Kordofan state on the edge of rich oil fields, are being victimized by attacks from both sides.
Dan Griffin, Sudan adviser for the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Relief Services, told CNS April 17 that fears are very real that a “looming disaster” exists and that the current border conflict could give rise to a new war.
“We’ve got to get the messaging out to prevent Africa’s longest-running war from returning,” he said a day before he was to travel to South Sudan to assess the situation and to check on CRS aid programs in the region.
“We need to help the church with its voice and advocacy,” Griffin said.
He called for negotiations mediated by the U.N. and African Union to end the conflict and to review the 1956 documents establishing borders among various tribes in the region.
Griffin said repeated shelling and aerial bombardments on Abyei by Sudanese forces must be investigated as well.
Catholics Ask World Leaders to Help Determine Sudan-South Sudan Border
April 18, 2012 by John Rivera