Letter: War in Sudan

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your articles on the Sudanese civil war (20 March, 15 April) contained inaccuracies with reference to the religious makeup of southern Sudan. The first claimed that the war is "between the Arab north and the black Christian south" and the second spoke of a "breakaway Christian south".

Christians account for less than one-fifth of the southern Sudanese population. Muslims account for marginally less. Most southerners are are adherents of native animist religions. Claims of a "Christian south" and that the Sudanese civil war is essentially a religious war merely perpetuate an inaccurate stereotype of Sudan, and a superficial context for the Sudanese conflict. The conflict is about the political status of southern Sudan.

The government of Sudan's offer of an internationally supervised referendum whereby the southern Sudanese can, for the first time, choose to remain part of Sudan or go their own way is surely the best way of settling Africa's longest-running civil war.

DAVID HOILE

Director, British-Sudanese Public Affairs Council

London WC1

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