Sudanese Prelate: 'At Least Remember Us in Prayer'

Bishop Macram Max Gassis Appeals to International Community to End Violence

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KHARTOUM, Sudan, NOV. 29, 2012 (Zenit.org). - "The bombings are carried out on daily basis and what saddens me most is that even the universal Church seems to have forgotten us, the people of the Nuba Mountains. At least remember us in the prayers of the faithful during Sunday Masses!" said Bishop Macram Max Gassis of El Obeid in Sudan to Fides Agency.

The Nuba Mountains has been the site of a continuing war between the Sudanese government and the Sudan's People's Liberation Army (SPLA). "The first victims of this war are civilians, especially women, children and the elderly," said Bishop Gassis.

"Just the other day the church of Heban was bombed, which thankfully has reported limited damage. In the month of November, which has not finished yet, the aviation of Khartoum launched 330 bombs, which caused 36 deaths, mostly women and children, and 22 injuries. Only in this month 30 homes were destroyed and 92 crops."

The Sudanese prelate also cited the lack any humanitarian or relief organization in the region. "The Church is the only presence of hope for these people, with our sisters and four doctors and surgeons (2 Americans, a German and an Englishman)," he said.

Bishop Gassis recounted the courage of priest and religious who brave the violence to aid the needy:

"My priests walk the paths that lead from the Nuba Mountains to our structure that we created in South Sudan in Yida in Unity State, to take supplies and medicines. The journey takes 8 hours to go and 8 to return, under the threat of Sudanese bombers. Only thanks to the courage of an Australian Sister of Mercy, of Italian origin, who has returned specifically, the formation and primary schools are still open."

The Bishop of El Obeid had recently returned from a world tour to plead the cause of those suffering in the Nuba Mountains. The prelate visited London where he addressed the House of Commons and Lords as well as addressing the Episcopal Conference. The bishop also visit Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Washington, New York, Oslo, Luxembourg and Geneva where he addressed the Commission for Human Rights.

"To all I asked for the international community to impose on the regime in Khartoum to stop the bombing on civilians and to allow food and medicine to be brought to the exhausted people," Bishop Gassis told Fides Agency.