Catholic bishops in Sudan fear recent election could lead to war, says media group

.- A media initiative dedicated to promoting the causes of persecuted Christians around the globe reported on Tuesday that Catholic bishops in Sudan fear that the country's recent election could lead to escalated conflict and eventually war.

“Where God Weeps,” a web, radio and TV initiative created by Catholic Radio and Television Network (CRTN) in cooperation with Aid to the Church in Need, features a particular country every month and recently highlighted the current plight of Christians in Sudan.

In a press release on Tuesday, the organization reported that the recent victory of President Omar al Bashir, in the country's first multi-party election in 24 years, has given Catholic bishops cause for concern. In addition to being indicted by the international criminal court for war crimes, the newly elected president is worried to be supportive of an Islamic state ruled by Shari'a law.

Reports have also indicated foul play and voter intimidation during the country's recent election.

The Islamic political vision of President Bashir goes against the semi-autonomous southern region of Sudan, which hopes to separate into an independent country. The subject of the south's independence will be a crucial topic in next January's referendum.

Catholic leaders also worry that unresolved issues between the north and south will negatively affect the Comprehensive Peace Agreement Act (CPA). The Act was established in 2005 and ended more than 20 years of civil war between the Khartoum-based Islamic government in the north and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) of the south. Both groups have been granted a temporary power-sharing deal.

Bishop Macram Gassis of El Obeid reported that both groups are also arming themselves. 

“It needs just one single shot to explode and we will go back to the bush,” where many people lived during the country's 21 year civil war, the bishop said.  “The north-south civil war cost the lives of 1.5 million people.”

“We are in the hands of God. We ask God to save us from breaking down and going back to the gun.”  The prelate continued explaining, “the gun will not solve the problem. We do not know what the solution will be, but we keep on praying, we are in his hands, we are his children.””

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