Sudan (MNN) — The Hague issued a
warrant for the arrest of Sudan's President, Omar al-Beshir, over the trouble in Darfur. He becomes the first sitting head of
state to be charged with war
crimes and crimes against humanity.
Criminal Court wants answers from Mr. Bashir for a range of
crimes, including the attempt to destroy ethnic groups deemed to be supporting
In addition, there are worries that
the warrant could worsen Sudan's deadly conflicts and raises issues of double standards.
Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says Khartoum's response is not encouraging. "It's not promising that their initial
step was to kick out aid workers who are helping to meet the needs of the
Sudanese people. That really shows that their interest is not in having the
Sudanese people better taken care of; their interest really is in making a
point to the international community: 'We didn't like this. We're going to
strike back at you.'"
The death toll from the trouble in
Darfur is at nearly 300,000 since rebels began fighting with the government in
2003. The United Nations estimates the internal displacement at nearly 2.5
Although Darfur's issues were
separate from those that engulfed the rest of the country in civil war, the warrant issue seems to have and an unexpected unifying effect.
A referendum is slated for 2011
to determine whether or not the South, which is mainly Christian, should remain
a part of Sudan.
However, now there is animosity
aimed at all things deemed "Western," which includes Christianity. Nettleton says that animosity raises the
stakes for their ministry partners. "Times of uncertainty and of unsettledness can be great times of
revival as people think about eternity. They think about things beyond their
government, and so that can be a time of spiritual awakening. We need to
pray that that will happen also." Keep praying for the ministry teams as they work to share the hope of
Christ during a tense time in Sudan.