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South Sudan 6 years on: Church leaders across East Africa call for prayers for peace

By Tearfund | 07 Jul 2017

As the world’s newest country reaches its 6th anniversary this Sunday 9 July, Church leaders in South Sudan and in neighbouring Kenya and Uganda are calling for prayer for the restoration of peace and stability in South Sudan. A movement of over 3,000 churches will be uniting in prayer this weekend and a National Day of Prayer on Monday 10 July has been organised in Juba.

The country has declared that, amidst ongoing conflict and a food crisis that has seen 50% of the population dependent on food aid, 2 million displaced internally and a further 1.9 million flee the country, official independence day celebrations will not go ahead this year.

In South Sudan, Tearfund is providing food to vulnerable households, including the elderly and those with a disability, through vouchers and cash. This enables families to purchase staples, such as pulses and oil, at markets. At the same time children who are malnourished are being given a high energy food supplement as part of a programme to help them and their families to get healthy again. Despite the troubled times, families are also provided with seeds and tools to be able to continue farming in small vegetable gardens so that they have a food source in months to come.

Andy Morgan, Deputy Head of Tearfund’s East and Southern Africa Team said:
“The humanitarian needs of the people of South Sudan are dire and although the recent increase in international aid has helped, the food crisis is still extremely serious and we must and will do more. We are committed to continue to pray for peace in South Sudan and will not give up! Peace and stability are essential for the people of South Sudan to be able to live dignified and peaceful lives in the long-run.”

Bishop Anthony Poggo, former Bishop of the Diocese of Kajo-Keji, a Tearfund Partner in South Sudan, who was recently appointed as an Advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the UK said:
"We pray that the people of South Sudan, the people of my homeland, who are so fully loved by God, unite. We pray that healing and restoration will come soon and that the South Sudanese find strength in their diversity and in the beautiful and resourceful country we call home. Be encouraged we are praying with you! Never give up!"

Father James Oyet of the South Sudanese Council of Churches, who have organised a National Day of Prayer in Juba on Monday 10 July said:
“In spite of all the thunderstorms of life, the food crisis, the economic crisis, we want to thank God. We thank God for life and celebrate the people of South Sudan. We thank God for Independence, but now we seek healing and reconciliation as the wounds are too big.”

Bishop Arkanjelo, Secretary General for the Evangelical Alliance for South Sudan said:
“When independence came we felt free, hopeful and excited about the future, so now there is a lot of pain. We have gone back to war, a war that’s even worse than before as now it is us and us, fighting each other. On Sunday, I am visiting the Adjumani refugee camp in Uganda, where I will hope to restore hope and encourage those living there temporarily that one day peace will come to our country.”

Bishop Joseph Mophat Kiliomba, of the Pentecostal Evangelistic Fellowship of Africa said:
“There can never be development without peace. Our prayer and our desire is to see South Sudan developing and prospering like other neighbouring countries. When there is a problem in one part of the region, the whole of East Africa is affected. Kenya is hosting many refugees from South Sudan. The prayer we all share, is for peace and for the interests of individuals to be put aside for the greater good of the whole country.”

Reverend Dr. Silvester Arinaitwe, Secretary General of the Uganda Joint Christian Council said:
'Almost 1 million refugees from South Sudan have come to Uganda now. We have welcomed them as brothers and sisters who are experiencing troubled times in their homeland, but most people naturally want to return to South Sudan, their home. We are praying for the restoration of peace.”

ENDS

For further information or interview requests call Esther Trewinnard on 07929 335606 or Tearfund Media Team on 0208 943 7792. For out of hours media enquiries please call 07710 573749.

Photos:

Worshippers unite in prayer at the African Inland Church in Juba, South Sudan (Tom Price/Tearfund)

Worshippers unite in prayer at the African Inland Church in Juba, South Sudan (Tom Price/Tearfund)

A South Sudanese woman at prayer at the African Inland Church in Juba. (Tom Price/Tearfund)

A South Sudanese woman at prayer at the African Inland Church in Juba. (Tom Price/Tearfund)

Notes to editors:

  1. A National Day of Prayer is being organised by the South Sudanese Council of Churches on Monday 10 July.
  2. As of the beginning of May, there are 1.9million South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries (Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, DRC, CAR) including over 500,000 people who fled the country since 31 December 2016. 761,550 people fled South Sudan in 2016, more than in the years 2013 to 2015 combined. 62% are under 17 years old. There has been no notable return movement since the peace agreement of August 2015, because of ongoing insecurity.
  3. As of June this year 950,562 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Uganda alone. By the end of the year, 400,000 a further new refugees are expected to arrive in Uganda.
  4. As of May this year, 98,103 refugees from South Sudan are currently registered in Kenya.

Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency and a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).

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