“Deeply concerned, troubled”: Religious Leaders in Eastern Africa on Violence in Sudan

Warring parties in Sudan conflict. Credit: Vatican Media

Religious leaders in Eastern Africa are “deeply concerned and troubled” by the ongoing violent conflict in Sudan that erupted on April 15, pitting the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) against the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Since then, over 400 people have been reportedly killed in the skirmishes and at least 4,000 injured across the country, and civilians fleeing the country in droves, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan has reported.

“We are deeply concerned and troubled by the ongoing conflicts in the Republic of Sudan,” religious leaders under the auspices of the Inter-Religious Council for Eastern Africa (IRC-EA) say in their Monday, April 24 statement

They add, “The security situation and the escalating war in Sudan threatens the sanctity of human life, ordinary course of business and regional peace.” 

The conflict in Sudan “has led to the loss of hundreds of lives, massive displacement of civilians, destruction of property and key infrastructure,” IRC-EA officials who comprise members of the National Inter-Religious Councils (NIRCs) of Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan further say.


Making reference to social media reports featuring uniformed officers carrying out “mob injustice” on people alleged to be foreigners, the religious leaders say they are also disturbed by the targeted killing of foreign nations. 

On April 18, the Head of the European Union (EU) humanitarian operation in Sudan was reported shot and injured. Wim Fransen who had been reported missing since April 16 was found injured by his colleagues. 

Two Americans have also been killed in the Sudanese violence. Meanwhile, nations are evacuating their citizens from the embattled Northeastern African nation.

In their statement signed by IRC-EA Secretary General, Joshua Kitakule, the religious leaders call upon nations neighboring Sudan to “provide refugee and a conducive environment” for those fleeing from the unrest.

They urge the international community to reach out to victims of the violence with humanitarian aid. 

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IRC-EA officials also call on the armed forces caught up in conflict “to embrace dialogue, exercise restraint, and cease-fire.” 

They emphasize the need for the army units loyal to General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan's transitional governing Sovereign Council, and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo of the RSF to stop the violence.

The religious leaders say, “We pray that those embroiled in conflicts will pursue peace, since Islam is a religion of peace.”

“The Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) cautioned his followers that when two Muslims draw out swords at each other and subsequently one kills the other, both the aggressor and the victims earn divine punishment of hell,” they say.

The religious leaders continue, “We also pray for our brothers and sisters that feel aggrieved by this conflict that they will remind themselves of the teachings of Islam, take lawful steps in the Courts of Law to seek redress and exercise tolerance as they all work towards restoring lasting peace in Sudan.” 


They call on the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) to undertake immediate actions aimed at restoring peace and tranquility in Africa’s third-largest country. 

On their part, the religious leaders say they are planning to meet officials of the African Council of Religious “to discuss and agree on a framework on how to accompany our brothers and sisters in the Republic of Sudan, in their journey of restoring peace and democracy in the country.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.