Barnabas Fund has moved almost 5000 stranded Christians to South Sudan and is appealing for help in rescuing more from the overwhelmingly Muslim north.
After South Sudan was created in 2011, people of South Sudanese origin living in the north were stripped of their Sudan citizenship and given a deadline to leave Sudan. Hundreds of thousands of southerners, including many Christians, had fled north during the brutal 22-year-long civil war that ended in 2005. But the aggressively Islamic government in Khartoum is seeking to eradicate the Christian presence.
Many southerners have now returned to their homeland, but the most poor and vulnerable lacking resources to transport themselves and their families, remain trapped and living in primitive tented camps around Khartoum.
Most of those rescued are children and women, especially widows. The returnees begin a new life, free from the oppression and hostility they have endured for years. One young mother returned home said, ‘After many years of suffering and prayers, God opened the way for us’.
Barnabas Fund has conducted its exodus mission through donations and is appealing for help in raising £76,000, to help rescue a further 3400 Christians. Its African partner organisation says the plight of these people is worsening as the rainy season creates bog-like conditions, with mud reportedly waist-high in places.
Initially Christians were airlifted to safety, but, with some further roads open, Barnabas Fund can now transport people by bus at a lower cost. Dr Patrick Sookhdeo said, ‘We are very grateful that our supporters have been moved by the plight of their Christian family in Sudan to give generously to this rescue mission’ (www.barnabasfund.org).