No winner in ‘forgotten’ Sudanese civil war, says bishop 

Bearded manBishop Paul Swarbrick, Lead Bishop for Africa at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in England & Wales, has emphasised the futility and destruction of the civil war in Sudan which has resulted in 12,000 casualties, an estimated 9 million displaced, and 25 million in need of aid.

Speaking of the importance for a ceasefire in the conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that began 15 April last year and has torn the country apart, he said:

“The cessation of violence is so important so that they can look at the damage that has been done, and take a step back from it, rather than using it as an opportunity to rearm and rebuild their aggression. There is going to be no winner if they carry on like this.”

He added: “It seems particularly difficult to get the sides to sit down together and discuss terms on which the future might be built for the country. It’s just a desperately bad situation that seems to be getting worse.”

Bishop Swarbrick expressed his concern that Sudan may be forgotten as higher-profile conflicts rage elsewhere:

“Rather than focusing on crises like Gaza, Ukraine and Sudan individually, it is better to look at it as a family. It is not just one child who is sick, there are a number of children who are sick and you need to be aware of them at the same time…

“There are conflicts erupting everywhere and they are so contagious.”

Since the outbreak of the war, the bishops of Sudan and South Sudan have consistently called for more action from the international community.

Bishop Paul said that Catholics had a vital part to play in bringing about peace, including prayer, charitable works, and doing the utmost to be peacemakers in personal relationships.

He said: “We have to believe in the power of prayer and the bishops of Sudan and South Sudan have also called for it. I encourage people to enter more deeply into prayer and see what the fruit of that is – not as escapism, but as a way to fortify ourselves.”

He added: “It is also worthwhile to raise issues of political engagement and support through our own government and the role we can play internationally.

“That’s something we can take up with MPs, and potential MPs, as they begin campaigning. Don’t let the domestic scene crowd out the international scene. What happens abroad does affect us here in the UK.

“Also look at the way you deal with conflicts with people. Don’t let things flare up into irreconcilable problems. Practice healing, practice reconciliation, because it matters for everyone.”

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