Sudan: Hope in a Forgotten War

By Ghinwa Akiki and Hunter Williamson

May 30, 2024

Editor’s Note: This article is the latest part in Thimar’s series highlighting God’s work amid conflict and war in the Middle East. Click the hyperlinks to see our previous articles on LebanonSyria, and Iraq

The phone line crackled, and the sound of traffic and shouting nearly drowned out Ibrahim’s* voice as he called from the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

Internet access was limited in the city, a ripple effect of a largely forgotten civil war in Sudan that has left at least 15,000 people dead, millions displaced, and the country on the brink of a famine that could kill half a million people or more. Ibrahim only had an hour to talk. Serving in a local church and youth ministry, he has been hard at work since the war began in April 2023. Many of Khartoum’s residents fled the city, but Ibrahim has chosen to stay, feeling called by God to spread the Gospel in a city and a country devastated by war. As one may imagine, it’s not easy. Conditions in Khartoum are dire.

More than a year of fighting has left the city’s health system on the verge of collapse and the economy in ruins, Ibrahim said. Hospitals are dysfunctional and specialist doctors have fled, leaving first aid workers to run emergency services. The costs of medicines have soared, and those available are sold in open-air markets under the scorch of the sun, making them unsafe for consumption. 

People also lack jobs and money. “Before the war, most families here relied on daily incomes, not stable monthly ones,” Ibrahim said. “When the war started, most people lost their jobs and hope.” A lack of jobs and money makes food unaffordable, accelerating the slide towards famine. Aid restrictions exacerbate the situation. The official Sudanese military, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), restricts and blocks aid from entering areas controlled by its rival, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). “In Khartoum, which is controlled by the RSF, no aid is allowed inside, including basic needs and food like flour, sugar, or bread,” Ibrahim said. The only way Ibrahim receives money is through a mobile banking application. Believers from other churches send him funds, which he uses to buy essential items for people.