- For the leadership of this young country – that they will always seek God’s will
- For the 100 000’s of people who have been chased from their homes, who now live as refugees in their own country
- For healing for those who have suffered pain, trauma and loss as a result of this long term conflict
- For a deepening growth and strengthening of the Church
South Sudan was formed in 2011 after years of ongoing conflict between the Arab Muslims in the northern areas and the mostly indigenous Christian southerners. Breaking point was finally reached and on 9 July 2011, a new African nation was born when Sudan officially separated into two independent states. The southern region became known as South Sudan, and for Christians, the new border was seen to create a clear divide between persecution and freedom. Many South Sudanese had been living in the north for many years, having fled there as refugees during the long civil war fought between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.
Soon after South Sudan gained independence, Sudan amended its laws to say that any southerners living in the north would automatically lose their former ‘northern’ citizenship when they applied for citizenship of South Sudan. Anyone living in the north with parents, grandparents or great-grandparents born in South Sudan, or who belonged to any southern ethnic group, were officially considered to be citizens of South Sudan, regardless of how long they may have lived in the north. In February 2012, an ultimatum was issued, stating that the former citizens had a month in which to leave the north, after which time they would be treated as foreigners.
On 15 December 2013 conflict broke out in the new country between government forces and rebel soldiers loyal to Machar (the former Vice president). It began as a power struggle but later evolved into an ethnic division between the Dinka and the Nuer. President Kiir finds his roots in the Dinka tribe where as Machar hails from the Nuer tribe. This split has led to ethnically motivated killings and mutilations.
Peace talks were started between the representatives from both sides in Ethiopia. The immediate goal of the talks were agreeing on the terms of a ceasefire as well as the release of political prisoners. Critics however said that the talks were futile as neither parties seem to be willing to come to the table.
In 2016 Machar surrounded Juba, the capital with his troops and new fighting erupted. According to Unicef 16 000 children were forced to join the army with 4000 recruited in the first half of 2016 alone.
Father we pray for the leadership of this young country; that they will not be consumed by greed or power or ethnic pride, but that they will always seek Your will for this already proclaimed Christian nation. We pray that their minds will be renewed from over 20 years of fighting and that they will seek alternatives in solving their problems.
We bring before You the 100 000’s of people who have been chased from their homes, who now lives as refugees in their own country. Lord, will you please send people to these places to help them with basic needs as well as to strengthen the church while everybody is still easy to reach.
We pray for healing for those who have suffered pain, trauma and loss as a result of this long term conflict. We pray for a deepening growth and strengthening of the Church in South Sudan, that South Sudan will become a leading voice and influence in Africa. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
East-Central Africa, south of Sudan, north of Uganda and Kenya, west of Ethiopia
Predominantly Christian (no official statistics available)
There are currently no other accredited statistics available, due to the recent formation of the new country.
State of the Church
Due to South Sudan’s status as a ‘new’ country, the state of the Christian Church in this young nation is yet to be determined, though there is likely to be a strong Christian presence due to the southerners’ Christian heritage. For the southern Christians, independence was celebrated as a means to ‘freedom’ from the Muslim North.
Before independence, Christians were subject to persecution which ranged from kidnappings, beatings and imprisonments to murders and bomb attacks. For the remaining Christians still living in the North, their situation remains uncertain and precarious. Many have lived there for decades together with children who were born there. For those who choose to stay in the north, increased persecution is almost guaranteed.
- INcontext ministries – http://incontextministries.org/
- CIA World Factbook
- Atlas of Global Christianity – Todd M.Johnson & Kenneth R. Ross (Published by – Edinburgh University Press) (Missionaries and national workers: Africa 2010, page 267)
- Prayercast – http://prayercast.com/
- Unreached people groups – http://www.joshuaproject.net
- The voice of the Martyrs – http://www.persecution.com/
- Jul-Dec, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report – http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/2010_5/index.htm
- Operation World – http://www.operationworld.org/african-countries