The people of Sudan face a “perfect storm of a humanitarian disaster” and urgently need prayers for an extension in the ceasefire in the fighting between two heavily armed military groups, according to Sudan expert Rebecca Tinsley.
“There's now a lack of any security, there's looting by criminals going house to house and this is happening all over Sudan”, the former BBC journalist and writer told Premier News. The fighting between the two factions ends tonight.
Speaking today, the UK Africa minister in the Foreign Office, Andrew Mitchell, also gave a warning of a humanitarian catastrophe in Sudan if the ceasefire isn’t extended and a political process secured.
Rebecca Tinsley is director of Waging Peace, an organization that campaigns against genocide and who knows Sudan. She told Premier that huge numbers of people were on the move to countries sharing a border with Sudan, like Chad, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt.
“This is already a disaster. I have to tell you that your prayers are needed especially for the Christians who live in the southern bit of Sudan, because they are already heading to South Sudan, where the refugee camps are just squalid. They're awful. So those people require your prayers”, she told Premier.
“The other group of people who I am especially concerned about are people in Darfur, who are already heading into Chad. It is reckoned 200,000 are on the move right now trying to get into Chad, I have been to the refugee camps in Chad. They are awful”, Rebecca added.
The situation on Sudan’s northern border with Egypt is also posing concern for humanitarian agencies according to Tinsley.
“We are told 20,000 people on the border are not being let in by the Egyptians. And there is a racial aspect to this”, she explained.
“For a very long time many Egyptians have referred to black Africans from Sudan, as ‘their slaves’. There is a horrible racial aspect to this. And I foresee a real problem if there are loads and loads of black Africans and black African Christians from Sudan, trying to get into Ethiopia. And as I say, the Ethiopians, we are told, are closing the border to those people. So this, this is a mess. It's just a terrible mess”, she added.
“Please pray for the people of Sudan. But also please write to your elected representatives and say to them, ‘when this fighting is over, we cannot allow the Islamist to be in charge in Sudan again’, because Christians and women and moderate Muslims are going to be in the firing line”, she said.