The second and third flights from Khartoum to Juba took place on Sunday (30 September) and Tuesday (2 October) respectively, following the first successful airlift on 19 September. We are prioritising the most needy women, around two-thirds of whom are widows, and children.
The returnees have received a grand welcome. The first arrivals were featured on South Sudan’s TV news, and the minister of humanitarian affairs has been at the airport in Juba to greet them. He congratulated our partners, Africa Inland Church – Sudan, for facilitating the evacuation of the South Sudanese from Khartoum.
The rescue mission is ongoing but will now be on hold for around three weeks because the airlines and aviation authorities in Sudan are occupied with the mass transportation of Muslim pilgrims to Saudia Arabia for the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).
After the South voted to secede, people of Southern origin – most of whom are Christians – remaining in Sudan were stripped of their citizenship and given a deadline to leave. Their place in the country has become increasingly endangered as President Omar al-Bashir has repeatedly declared his intention to make the country’s next constitution 100% Islamic and strengthen sharia law.
While many Southerners have made their own way to South Sudan, hundreds of thousands remain trapped in a country that is increasingly hostile to their presence.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said: “We have pledged the funds to rescue 2,000 of the neediest Christian women and children from Sudan but we eagerly desire to be able to help more of those stranded in such a dangerous and inhospitable place. So please do give whatever you can towards this endeavour and let’s together get these vulnerable Christians home.”
The cost per person is £175 (€220, US$275, AU$260, NZ$345).
Source: Barnabas Aid