A brutal civil war in one of Africa’s most strategic countries has millions trapped or on the run.
Sudan’s army is fighting a rebel force attempting to overrun the country. Sudanese Christians, who are a minority in this mostly Muslim nation, are risking their lives to help their countrymen.
Once allies, two Sudanese generals have been fighting for months to control this country. One leads Sudan’s army as the country’s de facto leader. The other, a notorious rebel, is leading a powerful paramilitary force.
“I don’t know any family that hasn’t been affected by this,” said Tina Ramirez of Hardwired Global. “Pastors, church community leaders, they’ve all had to flee.”
For 10 years, Ramirez sought to advance human rights and religious freedom in this predominantly Muslim country.
She worries all that may be in jeopardy as civil war engulfs Sudan.
“The situation there is very dire,” Ramirez told CBN News. “Churches have been bombed and attacked and looted, so have mosques and other places of worship.”
Fighting between General Burhan’s army and General Dagalo’s Rebel Rapid Support Force has left at least 3,000 people dead and 12,000 more wounded.
According to human rights experts, the situation in the western Sudan region of Darfur, is particularly horrific, with reports of rebel fighters going on a killing spree.
“The bodies of at least 87 ethnic Masalit and others allegedly killed last month by Rapid Support Forces and their allied militia in West Darfur have been buried in a mass grave,” said Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson with United Nations Human Rights.
Using thermal detection data from NASA satellite images, Yale University’s Conflict Observatory found those fighters deliberately targeted at least 26 communities in Darfur, burning down entire neighborhoods and villages.
“A lot of this is ethnic, a lot of this is tribal, and there is absolutely some targeted violence,” said Mike Congrove with Empower One.
Congrove’s ministry trains Sudanese Christians to start churches.
He says Christians from different denominations and parachurch groups in Darfur are working together despite the enormous risks.
“We are really seeing some great cooperation to make sure guys are ok, men and women are ok, that folks who need to get out are able to escape, getting some support that they need,” Congrove said.
Nearly three million people have been displaced within the country.
Another 800,000 have escaped to neighboring countries like Chad, South Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia.
“As they are trying to flee the city into the Nuba Mountains from South Sudan and over into Chad and other areas, the streets are lined with dead bodies,” noted Ramirez.
Meanwhile, the U.N. says the country’s healthcare infrastructure is collapsing with 80% of the hospitals now out of service.
“Hospitals have been taken over by the RSF and these other forces, the medical supplies have been targeted and attacked, medical workers have been attacked,” said Ramirez.
Congrove’s group has set up aid distribution points close to the Sudanese border for the thousands streaming out of the country.
He’s asking people around the world to pray for a ceasefire and especially for those who’ve decided to stay and help their countrymen.
“I was just on a call over the weekend with a key leader in Darfur and he said I want to keep reaching people for Christ, and he’s someone who hasn’t left and a lot of people have. And he’s intentionally staying, surrounded by fighting, and he’s asking for prayer,” Congrove said.