Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir says he wants to purify Sudan by driving out the country’s remaining Christians, and aid workers in the Nuba Mountains say that he has begun strategic demonstrations of air power to systematically drive people into the territory of the newly independent South Sudan.

Christian Solidarity International-USA CEO John Eibner said Bashir is responding to what he believes is a “rebel alliance.”

“The government of Sudan is responding to a rebellion led by the SPLA-N organization, which has joined with Darfuri rebels in an openly proclaimed effort to overthrow the regime in Khartoum,” Eibner said.

Eibner said Sudan is following a pattern.

“As is its custom, Khartoum [responds] with great brutality against the black African people of the Nuba Mountains who are perceived as cooperating with or harboring the rebels. Villages are burned, civilian sites are bombed, and individuals in government-controlled towns are terrorized. It amounts to collective punishment,” Eibner said.

The Sudanese embassy did not respond to WND’s request for comment.

Eibner said Bashir is calling his campaign “jihad.”

“The war is prosecuted by Khartoum roughly in accordance with the traditional principles of jihad. When civil war first broke out in the Nuba, the regime in Khartoum had a fatwa issued,” Eibner said.

The fatwa said an insurgent “who was previously a Muslim is now an apostate, and a non-Muslim is a nonbeliever standing as a bulwark against the spread of Islam, and Islam has granted the freedom of killing both of them.”

“This was to provide religious legitimacy for the killing of Muslim, Christian and traditional people who opposed the regime,” Eibner said.

Human rights groups say the campaign is creating a refugee crisis South Sudan is unable to absorb.

Eibner said the U. N. estimates thousands are impacted by the hostilities.

The U.N., he noted,  reports that more than 300,000 have been displaced from their homes and about 25,000 have found refuge in South Sudan.

International Christian Concern’s Saharan Africa Specialist Jonathan Racho said the crisis is putting a burden on the government of South Sudan.

“We are concerned about the plight of southern Sudanese who are being forced to leave Sudan. The actions of the government of Bashir goes against the values of human dignity,” Racho said.

Racho agreed that the campaign is an act of jihad.

“He is solely guided by strict interpretation of Islamic law. That is the reason for the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Sudan. Radical Islamic ideology is the root of the problem,” Racho said.

Barnabas Aid said that about 500,000 people are affected by the campaign and that Bashir’s government has given the people until April 8 to leave their homes.

Eibner said the recent action is a resumption of war after a six-year period of relative calm.

“After six years of peace, Khartoum has resumed the war according the principle established in the fatwa. The war in the Nuba Mountains threatens to expand into South Sudan, which Khartoum accuses of supporting the rebellion,” Eibner said.

Racho added that the campaign says volumes about the Sudan government’s value of human life.

“The government of Sudan doesn’t have any respect for human life. It is outrageous that the Islamic government of Sudan continues to murder its own citizens in the Nuba Mountains simply because of their Christian faith,” Racho said.

Racho said the campaign goes beyond the religious aspect. It’s also racial.

“Not only is Sudan committing religious cleansing in Nuba Mountains, it is also hunting down and killing black Africans in the area simply because of the color of their skin,” Racho said.

Racho again called on the international community to act on behalf of the Sudanese people.

“The world must unite in pressuring Sudan to stop its genocide against Christians and African tribes,” he said. “The United States government must put pressure on Sudan to stop the persecution of Christians and others in the country.”

Racho said his group welcomes action by people such as actor George Clooney, who highlighted the humanitarian crisis in Sudan when he organized a protest at the Sudan Embassy in Washington, D.C.

“The church in America and around the world must take the lead in the fight for justice in Sudan.” Racho said.

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