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--by Richard Bedard
Located along the Red Sea and bordered by Egypt in the north, Sudan is a country in Africa with a population of over 20 and a half million people. 73% of the population are Sunni Muslims, mostly in the north. Islamic culture is very strong in the northern two-thirds of the country.
In the south, 17% follow tribal religions; the remainder are Christian, mostly Roman Catholic. This means in the south, 83% of the people are Christians. The Sudanese government led by the Islamic regime has been at war with the southern region for 17 years. Close to 2 million people have died in the south. More people from Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains have been murdered than all the victims in Kosovo, Bosnia and Rwanda combined. To make matters worse, the south is rich in oil. China owns 40% of the oil interests in the region. BP/Amoco has given millions to China in exchange for a share in the oil rights in the area. This has resulted in China giving money and weapons which include tanks, planes and bombs directly to the Sudanese government. The huge Canadian oil company -Talisman Oil is also largely responsible for the ongoing persecutions. Favorite targets of the Islamic Govt are hospitals , churches, schools and clinics. Yes its all about the "golden calf" of oil and religious persecution. These people are the martyrs for Christ of our times. You may have heard that Christians are crucified there to this day. I read with sadness of a young boy who's family had been killed, was forced to gather firewood and when he refused to renounce Christianity, was thrown into the fire. He barely escaped alive.
In addition to committing what amounts to genocide , the Islamic government is determined to remove all the inhabitants of the south in order to pave the way for oil exploration. This has resulted in additional persecution of the people. They have been driven off their land, their cattle slaughtered and millions are living in refugee camps, both in neighboring countries and within. Many children are kidnapped and sold into slavery. Priests, religious and lay people have been tortured or killed. People have been shot at, from government helicopters during humanitarian aid distributions. Those who refuse to leave are killed. Temperatures between day and night can vary by as much as 50 degrees, and temperatures at night can reach 40 degrees in the winter months. The people in these camps sleep mostly on the ground. Blankets of Love is a program administered by The Voice of the Martyrs, an inter-denominational Christian organization based in Oklahoma. Voice of the Martyrs ships donated blankets to the Sudan as well as other countries where religious persecution is taking place.
The simple and practical gift of a blanket is one way, we as a community of believers of the Good News can let our brothers and sisters in Christ of the Sudan know that they are not forgotten