South Sudan (MNN) ― After an amicable cease-fire and secession vote in 2011, tensions have again reached the boiling point for Sudan and South Sudan.
Lee DeYoung, Vice President for broadcast at Words of Hope, says, "The President of Sudan has declared war, vowing to take the battle all the way to Juba."
The two countries started out well, but because oil revenues and border issues hadn't been finalize before the secession vote last year, these issues spiraled out of control. Two weeks ago, South Sudan captured Heglig--a border-disputed oil base by force, prompting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to proclaim a state of war.
DeYoung says, "Words of Hope broadcasts into Sudan and South Sudan especially in the indigenous languages of Dinka, Nuer, and Bari. We are concerned about the recent escalation of tensions between Sudan and South Sudan."
South Sudanese forces have since left Heglig. Sudan claims they forced South Sudanese troops out of the city, while South Sudan said they left the city to avoid intensifying the conflict.
While these two regions have been at war before--civil war, this is different, say DeYoung. "This would be an international conflict. Already military leaders in neighboring Uganda would back South Sudan. It is speculated that other neighboring countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia might also be sympathetic to the plight of the South Sudan people."
As war has been declared, many South Sudanese living in the Sudan and Sudanese living in South Sudan are concerned. DeYoung explains. "People from South Sudan ancestry in the north have worried about their status and vice-versa. They could become pawns caught in the crossfire if this war escalates."
Words of Hope continues broadcasting into the region. Pray that the words they share will help ease the tensions and point many to Christ. DeYoung says, "The impact of the conflict itself has been limited to the oil-rich regions. It has not directly affected people in most areas of Sudan, but if tension--especially military conflict--escalates, it could change for the worse."
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