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Christian minister named aide to Sudan's Islamic government

10/19/2005 8:58pm

Khartoum, Oct. 18 ( - A prominent Sudanese Christian leader has been appointed as adviser to the head of the country's Islamic government.

Rev. Haruun Ruun, the executive secretary of the New Sudan Council of Churches-- an ecumenical body that brings together Catholics and Protestants in southern Sudan-- will become an advisor to President Omar el Bashir.

The appointment of an ordained Christian minister is a highly significant move in a country where religious differences played a key role in a bloody 21-year civil war, which finally ended with a peace agreement last year. The conflict had pitted rebels in the south of Sudan, which is largely populated by Christians and adherents of traditional African cults, with the government in the north, which is dominated by Islam.

Rev. Ruun, who has been working in exile in Kenya, will now join a team of 12 key advisers to the Sudanese president in the new national-unity government. He said that the appointment came as a surprise to him, but he accepted it as a challenge to continue his work for the welfare of Christians and of Sudan. Church leaders, particular in southern Sudan, welcomed the appointment.

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