Sudan (MNN) — Sudan’s government has reached a peace agreement with the Sudan Revolutionary Front, a coalition of rebel groups from Darfur and other regions in the country. The agreement will end a civil war that has raged since 2003 and has killed 300,000 people in Darfur alone.
The agreement covers landownership, power-sharing between all parties involved, and the return of people who have fled their homes in the civil war. Rebel forces will be dismantled, but fighters will have the opportunity to join the Sudanese military.
Hope for the future
Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs says, “This agreement should, at least in theory, pave the way for peaceful coexistence within Sudan. Hopefully, a nation that’s not focused on fighting against others within its borders can focus instead on development and on moving forward into what we hope is a civilian rule.”
Neighboring South Sudan played a big part in accomplishing the deal, supporting it even as negotiations dragged on from 2019 to 2020. Nettleton says, “They’re also invested because some of this conflict starts to spill across their border. And there has been a lot of conflict in South Sudan over the last several years. Hopefully, this could even be a harbinger of more peaceful coexistence in South Sudan as well.”
Signs of change
This is not the first hopeful sign in Sudan this year. We previously reported that Sudan had gotten rid of an oppressive apostasy law, outlawed female genital mutilation, and accomplished other religious freedom and human rights goals.
How did this deal come about? Nettleton mentions one of the government representatives signing the peace agreement is a general accused of committing atrocities in the civil war. “How did this happen? How did all these people get in the same room? But I think there does seem to be momentum towards civilian rule in Sudan.”
The peace deal would help Christians in the country, especially those living in Darfur who have suffered horribly in the war and under the oppressive rule of Sudan’s former regime.
But Nettleton says this won’t solve every problem for Christians in Sudan. “There is still a level of family persecution, a level of cultural persecution for someone who was born in a Muslim family and makes the decision to follow Jesus Christ. Their persecution typically doesn’t start with the government. It typically starts with their own family members. And this peace agreement is not going to affect that.”
Sudan is changing. Pray lasting peace will come to Sudan, and that Christians will have more freedom to proclaim the Gospel.
The header image shows spent ammunition casings in Sudan. (Photo courtesy of VOM USA)