Quite a number of Sudanese Christian leaders have come to Cape Town 2010. Yesterday they held a press conference along with the leaders of the World Evangelical Alliance to draw the church's attention to the upcoming referendum on January 9, 2011. Sudanese citizens of the South–largely Christians and animists in an Islamic country–will vote on whether to secede and form a new nation. The church leaders, including Anglican bishop of Khartoum Ezekiel Kondo, spoke of the deep anxiety of Christians as the day of the referendum approaches. It is not clear whether the north-dominated government will allow the referendum to go forward. Should the referendum proceed and the citizens of the South elect to secede, there is great uncertainty about the possibility of civil war. And even in the best of circumstances, Southerners displaced to the north may be prevented by force from returning to their southern homes. If they return they face dangers from land mines planted during the civil war, massive problems of food supply, and other issues. Christians who make their home in the north pleaded for Christians around to globe to advocate for them, too. Reverend Elizabeth Aya, head of the Anglican Mother's Union, pleaded for Christians to help. "We need you to join us in prayer," she said. "We want our freedom. We have been suffering."
The World Evangelical Alliance under Geoff Tunnicliffe, who also participated in the press conference, is organizing churches to pray and volunteer as election monitors.