Church Worried on Both Sides of Sudan's New Border

Secession of South Means Uncertain Future

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ROME, MAY 26, 2011 ( The violence in Abyei has people worried on both sides of Sudan’s new border.

Abyei is on the line that will divide North Sudan from South Sudan now that the southerns have voted to secede and are set to declare their independence July 9. The north recently sent its troops into the town and wreaked destruction.

The violence threatens to complicate the whole plan of forming two separate nations.

The Church is active on both sides of the line that will divide Sudan, and representatives from the northern Diocese of Khartoum and the southern Diocese of Torit have their own fears and hopes, noted Secours Catholique-Caritas France in L’Osservatore Romano.

While Father Jangara Modi from Khartoum spoke of the problems that need to be resolved before July — international debt and oil issues primary among them, Father Hakim Dario from Torit noted the strong will among southerns to proceed with independence.

In any case, Father Modi asserted that «the Sudanese have become wiser» and «they know that if they take up arms, this will mark the end of the process of independence.»

Father Dario claims independence won’t change the activities of either diocese, though he notes concern about his Christian brothers and sisters in the Muslim-majority north.

«The Church will be much in the minority,» he said, «and I fear that the persecutions that she already suffers will increase and that Christians will be expelled.»

The United Nations, meanwhile, is trying to solve the Abyei issue, as the international community awaits to see what the Sudanese will make of their future.

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