Sudan Bishops Note Doubt About Arresting President

Worry Warrant Could Cause More Obstacles to Peace

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KHARTOUM, Sudan, MARCH 10, 2009 ( Bishops of Sudan are expressing concern that arresting the nation’s president might not do anything to help stop the suffering in the country.

Bishop Daniel Adwok affirmed this after an arrest warrant was issued last week by the International Criminal Court in the Hague for President Omar al Bashir, for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur, West Sudan.

The auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Khartoum said in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need published today, that “the indictment of the president is not a matter taken lightly by the president or the people around him.”

Speaking from Khartoum, where the streets were crowded with thousands of supporters of Bashir, Bishop Adwok asserted, “Removing him could throw obstacles in the path to peace — including in the south of the country.”

Bishop Rudolf Deng Majak, chairman of the Sudan bishops’ conference, cautioned that an arrest would breed more suspicion and obstruct peace efforts in Darfur.

“What we need is more sincerity from the leaders and the rebels, and a more serious dedication from the international community to save the Sudan,” Bishop Deng told the Catholic Information Service of Africa.

Bishop Adwok affirmed that Sudan also needs prayer: “We urge people around the world to pray for us. Sudan has entered into a critical moment in her history.

“Whatever happens now, the people should be treated justly. We are asking ourselves, ‘Who will defend the rights of Christians in our country?'”

He appealed for an end of discrimination against all minorities, including Christians. He said: “There have been human rights abuses going on for a long time and now we need to put that behind us.

“Above all justice for the people should be maintained. Those who have suffered are innocent people who have been put through misery because of their ethnic background, their religion or culture.”

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