El Obeid (Agenzia Fides) - "Partly because of the terror due to the spread of the coronavirus, partly because dialogue continues, there have been no clashes here in Sudan". This is what Mgr. Tombe Trille, Bishop of El Obeid, and President of the Episcopal Conference of Sudan and South-Sudan says in an interview with Agenzia Fides. With a precarious health system and a socio-economic situation that suffers years of dictatorship, Sudan, which has just entered a new political phase, looks at the spread of the coronavirus with terror. The confirmed cases are over 240 while 21 deaths have been reported.
"The government - explained the Bishop – has asked to avoid gatherings (and imposed a total lockdown in the State of Khartoum since mid-April) and we celebrated Holy Week with limited numbers of faithful, maximum 50. Obviously, if the government asks us, we will close everything until there is security. We are concerned about the refugee camps both because of the general conditions and because it is not possible for us to assure our constant pastoral and social presence. In any case, Easter is not an isolated moment, but is permanent for the Church: it continues throughout the year, every mass is an Easter and we will have opportunities to celebrate it as it should be done later".
Meanwhile, on Sunday 22 March Stephen Ameyu Mulla was finally able to take office as new Archbishop of the capital of South Sudan, Juba. His appointment was opposed right from the beginning by a group of lay people and religious on the basis of essentially ethnic divisions.
"Since Mgr. Ameyu took office there have been no protests. The spirits have calmed down a lot also thanks to his inaugural speech based entirely on reconciliation. It is a good sign that gives us hope for a united and peaceful future for both South Sudan and Sudan. The population needs and begins to glimpse signs of new hope".
Exactly one year after the expulsion of Omar al-Bashir (11 April 2019), the despot who came to power in 1989 with a coup d'état supported by Islamists, Sudan, amid a thousand political, social and economic challenges, continues to represent good news for Africa. The democracy rating drawn up by the Economist every year sees it rise: from the very last places it has risen to 147°, increasing 8 positions in one year. (LA) (Agenzia Fides, 28/4/2020)