Flight From Abyei

Violence in the contested Abyei region of Sudan has displaced thousands of families and threatens to derail talks leading to the birth of Africa’s newest country in July. Satellite images show troops from both north and south digging in around Abyei, a contested region where at least 149 people were killed in fighting that began in late February. Aid groups estimate some 45,000 people have fled the region. “The few people still in Abyei are gathering their property and preparing to leave as well,” said the Rev. Peter Suleiman, pastor of Our Lady of the Annunciation Parish in Abyei. The violence stems from a conflict between the nomadic Misseriya, a Khartoum-backed tribe that takes its cattle to Abyei during the dry season, and its permanent residents, mostly members of the Dinka Ngok tribe, who support the southern Sudan government in Juba. Eric Reeves, a Sudan expert at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., fears that an attempt by the Khartoum government to seize Abyei is imminent. He said tanks, artillery and soldiers are moving into position for an attack that could come anytime.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Pope Francis waves during a visit to give an Easter blessing to homes in a public housing complex in Ostia, a Rome suburb on the Mediterranean Sea, May 19 (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano).
Vatican leaders seem quietly confident that the meeting will go well.
Gerard O'ConnellMay 22, 2017
Given the number of those in the California legal system today who are Latino, “you can guess a large percentage of them are Catholic.”
Jim McDermottMay 22, 2017
Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., prays on Nov. 16 during the opening of the 2015 fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
The bishops' spring assembly will include discussions ranging from immigration to religious freedom, as well as the Synod of Bishops on youth.
The new cardinals named by Pope Francis come from El Salvador, Laos, Mali, Spain and Sweden.
Gerard O'ConnellMay 21, 2017