Escaping from Khartoum, Bishop Daniel talks about the Sudan crisis

05 May 2023|Natalia Reina Sepulveda and Paula Casado Aguirregabiria

The magnitude of the number of people present in Course, Joda, Renk... is beyond the capacity of one organization.
Bishop Daniel Adwok

Bishop Daniel Adwok has been working in Sudan as the auxiliar bishop of Khartoum for 30 years. Sudan became his home, until he left the country in late April and traveled to South Sudan.

Due to the security situation, the bishop and his companions could not travel by air, but rather had to travel by road all the way to Renk, a frontier town in South Sudan; currently the main crossing point between both countries. 

Refugees and Returnees in Renk (South Sudan) during JRS Assessment Visit


Like him, thousands of people are doing the same journey. The luckiest ones, like bishop Daniel, are doing it using vehicles. The rest, the vast majority, are doing it by foot. 

The people [that are leaving] because of the ferocity of the war that is now taking place in Sudan have come from various parts [of the country]. Some have come from the east […] and all the way to Medeni. People are heading to the border of South Sudan because it is the easiest border, maybe less expensive also. And now you get people in Kosti that are standing there. There are people in Renk [too]. 

At the time I was in Renk, there were many people stranded at the border who would like to come [to South Sudan].  Southerners, even Sudanese, and people who would like to move away from this conflict area and come to be in calm and quiet places; even inside South Sudan
Bishop Daniel Adwok

Bishop Daniel expressed his deep concern about the possible escalation of the violence.  

The Bishop explained to us, that the RSF (Rapid Support Forces) militia’s head, known as Hemeti, used to lead the so-called Janjaweed forces, a very violent army that fought in the Darfur Region. The levels of ferocity and violence that characterised the actions of the Janjaweed in the Darfur war are widely known. 

This Janjaweed was a notorious militia that this man [Hemeti] used himself to kill the black people of Darfur.” “It is a danger, of course, because of what is happening now.Hemeti, the [RSF] leader who is opposed now to the Sudan army is from the desert, is not a riverine Arab. “Is a change in the system.”  

Bishop Daniel believes that, despite the levels of tension being already high, it can still increase as the conflict evolves. 


Many have come now [to South Sudan], as I said, from all these areas, all these towns [all over Sudan]. They have come practically with nothing, with not very much in their hands. Some were running away because of the fear […] and they need to be supported.
Bishop Daniel Adwok

JRS has been in northern South Sudan frontier to Sudan for some decades now, since first establishing a mission in Maban (Upper Nile State). Due to this knowledge and understanding of the region and its dynamics, Bishop Daniel supported the idea of JRS going to Renk to do an Assessment Visit. And we so did on the 1st of May. 

JRS team in Renk during Assessment Visit

Making that assessment will also provide the possibility of evaluating [JRS] capacity. Are we able to offer capacity building and services to these people as they come?  If we are unable, of course, there is need for us to reach out and go to other people and ask them to support us because of the humanitarian needs that are now ringing on our compound’s door. And we would like to respond to it. 


“The Catholic organizations that are here should join up among themselves and try to address this issue; […] We will not be able to provide everything, but at least the little bit that we have, we can give and offer. So, what is given by two or three people, will be more meaningful than what is given by just one person.