(PNS) Church partners in the Republic of Sudan are asking for prayers for peaceful resistance and non-violent responses to the change in the leadership of its government.
Long-time president Omar al-Bashir was removed from office earlier this week in a military coup. There had been months of intense anti-government protests by the people of Sudan who objected to his authoritarian rule.
On Thursday April 11, Sudan’s former vice president and defense minister, General Awad Ibn Auf, announced that al-Bashir had been arrested and he and his regime were no longer in charge of the government.
World Mission has been receiving regular updates from the ground. The name of the person is being withheld because their comments could jeopardize their security.
“The removal of President al-Bashir today was greeted by celebrations in the streets of Khartoum, initially. By midafternoon the vice president had addressed the situation to the public. They were informed that there would be a 3-month state of emergency declared, along with an interim government for the next two years, which would still be controlled by the Sudanese military. Elections will happen after the two-year transition period.”
Lt. General Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf is to be the head of the transitional government for the next 2 years. This is seen by many Sudanese people as a clever move by the current government to retain power. The Sudanese Professional Association, who has been the primary force pushing for reforms, finds this unacceptable and is calling for continued demonstrations. It is quite likely that the demonstrations will become more violent given the present situation.
The deposed leader, al-Bashir, took over in a coup in 1989 and his authoritarian leadership has long been under scrutiny by international leaders who questioned Sudan’s support of terrorism and the genocide in the Darfur region. He faces charges in the International Criminal Court for several charges, including war crimes.
Church leaders are also praying that the change in government in Sudan will not affect the fragile peace agreement signed in South Sudan in 2018. The PC(USA) has several mission co-workers living and serving in South Sudan.
A former co-worker in South Sudan, along with the Rev. Debbie Braaksma, World Mission’s coordinator for the Africa Area Office, join church leaders in asking for prayers. “Please pray for the situation to remain peaceful, for real changes to take place in the hearts of the Sudanese leaders, and safety for our partner church leaders and members who live in Sudan,” said Braaksma.
by Kathy Melvin, Presbyterian News Service