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Sudanese bishop seeks asylum in the US: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 9, 2011 p 8. September 14, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church of the Sudan.
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Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail at the UN

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Kadugli in Sudan’s South Kordofan province has applied for political asylum in the United States.

The Rt Rev Andudu Adam Elnail’s application for sanctuary comes amidst a renewed outbreak of fighting on the border between North and South Sudan. On 5 September, the IRIN news agency reported that fighting had broken out between troops of the Khartoum government’s Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in the Blue Nile state bordering South Sudan and Ethiopia.

An estimated 20,000 refugees have crossed into Ethiopia, the UN reports, with more taking refuge in the countryside. Formed as the northern branch of South Sudan’s ruling political party, the SPLM-N took control of the Blue Nile State with the election of Malik Aggar as governor. However, Aggar, a former military commander in the SPLM’s armed wing during the 1983-2005 civil war, has since been removed from office by the Khartoum government.

IRIN reports that on 4 September, Khartoum’s ruling National Congress Party banned the SPLM-N and arrested many of its members. SAF spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad called Aggar a “rebel” and claimed the SPLM-N had been planning attacks on SAF bases.

In the neighbouring state of South Kordofan, where the SAF and SPLM-N have been at war since June, almost 200,000 people have been forced from their homes. On 30 August, Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said “unless there is an immediate stop to the fighting, and humanitarian organizations are granted immediate and unhindered independent access throughout South Kordofan, people in many parts of the state face potentially catastrophic levels of malnutrition and mortality.”

In an open letter published in the Huffington Post, Bishop Elnail’s US attorney said the Khartoum government was waging a war of extermination against the Nuba people of South Kordofan.

“Khartoum historically discriminated against the Nuba, prompting them to align with Southerners and their revolutionary party, the [SPLM], during Sudan’s civil war. Under the January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Nuba were promised a free election, followed by a consultation with their elected leaders. This was supposed to be a channel for them to raise grievances and discuss their political future.

“After years of delay, South Kordofan’s gubernatorial election was held in May amid political tensions between the NCP and SPLM.

“Violence quickly erupted. Soon the UN mission reported that the NCP’s military wing had committed major human rights atrocities against the Nuba, including targeted killings, attacks on churches and dwellings and indiscriminate aerial bombardments.”

Bishop Elnail and other Nuba leaders sympathetic to the SPLM have been targeted for death by the Khartoum government, said his attorney Arjun Sethi.