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Pray for Peace in South Sudan this Lent

ABM is pleased to share with our supporters and others the latest updates on both the overall situation in South Sudan, as well as the work of our partner, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, in responding to the ongoing problems caused by the conflicts.

Relief work in the Khor William area. © ECSS&S 2014
Relief work in the Khor William area. © ECSS&S 2014

Ongoing Food Distribution by the Church
The church continues to deliver maize flour, beans, cooking oil and salt to communities in areas affected by the political conflict that began in December 2013. Sometimes getting the food to where it is needed can take an extraordinarily long time. Take Bentiu, for example, where the political violence still continues, food can take up to 25 days to get to the people. For some of the journey, the Church workers will be escorted by the Army to ensure their safety. The Mothers’ Union are also doing a great job of assisting with increasing people’s food security by helping to establish kitchen gardens in conflict-affected villages to enable more localised forms of food distribution to those in greatest need.

Opportunistic Violence
Since the political violence has ceased in most areas, people were starting to move back to their villages. However, now cattle thieves are taking advantage of the reduced security in the country to ramp up their traditional attacks on villages. This has had a particularly strong impact on the villages in and around Bor Diocese, as Bishop Reuben of Bor reports, with up to 100,000 people displaced by the political violence and the cattle thieving currently living in Bor Town. There has also been an increase in criminal activity in Juba itself.

Towards a Lasting Peace?
SUDRA Coordinator, Rev Joseph Loabe, had noted at our meeting that the Government and Opposition parties were talking, and it seemed they were ready to implement a peace plan, in late February. However by the 6 March the peace talks had again broken down. A key component of any peace agreement is the reunification of the warring sections of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement which together fought so long and hard for independence of South Sudan from Sudan. A commitment to this reunification seemed to have been achieved via the January 15 Arusha Communique. However, with the talks broken down yet again, some people are beginning to question the commitment of either side to a lasting peace. UN Secretary General, Ban Kee Moon, has called for the Peace negotiations to continue.

Children lining up for food at Awerial. © ECSS&S 2014
Children lining up for food at Awerial.
© ECSS&S 2014

Update on the work of the UN Mission in South Sudan
For those who are interested, you can read about the recent work of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) both in terms of the peace process and the ongoing international support for the needs of ordinary South Sudanese people while peace is being negotiated, and for a long time afterwards. Download the .pdf document here.

Help ABM Continue to Support the Relief and Rebuilding Effort of the Church in South Sudan
Finally, ABM would like to thank our supporters who have already given much to assist the Church in South Sudan to relieve the suffering of many ordinary people affected by these terrible events. With the food relief stage almost completed, the Church is moving into the Peace and Reconciliation phase, to help people on the ground to recover psychologically from the effects of conflict and insecurity, and to help to ensure that the expected peace will be lasting. Additionally, ABM is helping to fund an external evaluation of the Church’s relief effort over the past 15 months. Lessons learned from this evaluation will help the Church to improve its ability to respond to disasters in the future. We ask you to continue to give to our ongoing appeal for the reconstruction efforts of the Church in South Sudan.

ABM would like to thank the Anglican Alliance for its continued support of the Relief and Peace Building efforts of the Church of South Sudan and Sudan, and for facilitating international Anglican support of the Church.


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