Sudan (MNN) — A full demilitarization of a disputed
borderland in Sudan is in the works.
On Monday, under a deal brokered by South Africa's former
president, both the North and the South agreed to allow peacekeepers into
Abyei–a fertile land near major oil fields that both sides claim as their own.
That claim has grown increasingly violent in the days
leading up to the July 9 secession of the South from the North. Carl Moeller with Open Doors USA isn't sure an
agreement will be enough to keep the peace. "It is oil rich–that's going to
motivate a lot of this violence as well. Again, as we talked about many times,
the split in that nation is primarily among religious and ethnic lines."
When the referendum to separate passed in January, Moeller says,
"Omar Bashir has said repeatedly, publicly, that he's supporting the separation,
but the actions are speaking louder than words." However, a major offensive could be coming
soon. "We've seen the military buildups
in that region on satellite imagery, and there can only be one conclusion: the tensions are possibly going to lead
to violence at the beginning of July."
The concern is that a hair-trigger event could elicit
violence where genocide is a potential outcome. Moeller notes that the North has been traditionally Muslim and the
South, Christian. "If we use the picture
of what happened in Rwanda as a model, there's no good that comes out of the
violence that can be motivated at such an intense level on these sort of tribal
and religious issues."
Past conflicts with the Khartoum government have developed
into a jihad against the people of the south which resulted in church buildings
and Christian relief agencies being specifically targeted. The risk there is a retaliatory cycle. Moeller says the success of this new nation
is balanced on a razor's edge. "Our prayers
are, of course, for a peaceful separation and a reconciliation that can allow
the South to begin its life as a new nation."
Moeller goes on to note that "millions of lives are at stake.
People's lives are going to be impacted negatively, regardless of what happens.
If there's violence, there's going to be refugees. People will be displaced. It could be a horrible humanitarian
One solution is to bathe July 9 and the specifics of the
separation in prayer. "The weapon of prayer is also a weapon of
solidarity to let them know that they're not alone in this struggle and that if
we do become aware, then our awareness can lead us to speak out on behalf of