1318 Nagel Road
Cincinnati, OH 45255
Fr. Ruffino Ezama
Comboni Missionaries Stress South Sudan’s Need for a Future with or without Oil
Southern Sudanese voted unanimously during their referendum in January to secede from Sudan, and if all goes well, this will secure a lasting peace between the north and south. After two long civil wars and loss of life into the millions, peace between the north’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the south’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) is a hope being carried in the hearts of the southern population, where most of the warring and death took place.
While the ruling parties have, at least on paper, relinquished their weapons since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 officially put an end to the second civil war, they now must take up a “hammer” to pound out the rough spots in the many issues waiting to be resolved. To give the south any chance at survival, this is a must.
These issues are not few in number. Some of those at the top of the priority list are:
- Abyei, that little place on the border with all the oil. Will it become part of the north or the south? Voting still has to take place to determine this.
- Oil – northern and southern economies depend heavily on it. (98% of the southern government budget.)The reserves are mainly in the south; the pipelines run north.
- Water – the two countries will have to find a way to share the Nile’s water. The old “cowboy tactic” of cutting off the supply to benefit a certain area just won’t work.
The list goes on – debt, citizenship, border demarcation, lingering tensions, southern identity, economy, humanitarian problems, infrastructure…
No one knows the people of Sudan, their gifts and their challenges better than the Comboni Missionaries who have had an unbroken presence in that country since the 1800s. The 28 missionaries working there (including one bishop), and the other 1700 around the world, are joined in prayer for southern Sudan.
In Cincinnati, they will conclude a series of Masses for the Sudanese and their peaceful transition to an independent state. Following the Mass, Dr. Samuel Laki, a Sudanese, will talk about the need for South Sudan to build a future that doesn’t depend on oil, a resource that now accounts for 98% of the south’s economy but which is expected to run out in 20-30 years.
Dr. Laki is a professor at Central State International Center for Water Resources Management and holds a Ph.D in Agricultural Economics, with specialties in Agricultural Management and Resource Development.
Anyone with an interest in southern Sudan and its future will benefit from this evening of prayer and discussion to be held on March 4th from 7-9 p.m. at the Comboni Mission Center, 1318 Nagel Road in Anderson(45255). Call 513-474-4997 or visit www.combonimissionaries.org for more information.