Keep praying for South Sudan
Posted by Roger Cooke on Fri, 24 Feb 2017 | 2 comments | Bookmark:
As the security situation in South Sudan continues to deteriorate and spread, our partners have been sending updates, along with their thanks for prayers and financial support from Ireland. They also request that we keep on praying.
Of the four dioceses in South Sudan that partner with CMSI, three are now experiencing the direct impact of the escalation of unrest since July 2016. The following news reports give some insight into the kinds of situations that our partners face:
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve received updates from our partners, as they strive to minister effectively amidst these changing contexts of conflict, upheaval and resettlement.
Bishop Hilary got in touch earlier this month offer his thanks for our prayers and support. CMSI’s Yei Appeal has also been receiving regular and generous donations and we have been able to distribute much of these funds to meet the requests of Yei Diocese at this time of strife.
It was with a sense of hope that Bishop Hilary shared news that the Yei Diocese Centenary celebrations had been completed successfully at the beginning of February. In spite of security concerns and difficulty in travel, the events were attended by several high profile figures. Our message to the diocese was to celebrate God’s faithfulness over these years, not in spite of the surrounding crisis, but in the midst of it, knowing that He stands with them still. To praise God in the midst of trouble is a sign of hope for the people of the diocese and a light to the community. One of the diocesean officers commented:
..many Christians and individuals have appreciated the peaceful centenary celebrations in Yei. They are praying that the 100 years of the Gospel of Christ should mark the beginning of Peace in Yei and the Republic of South Sudan at large. We give glory back to God for His mercy and grace.
KajoKeji has had three incidents in which several people, including government officials were killed. In the third incident, police and army were also targeted and killed.
Canon Henry Leju estimates that 90% of the people in KajoKeji have fled into exile as refugees to the neighbouring districts of Moyo, Yumbe and Adijumani in Uganda; others have sought safety in Juba. Canon Henry notes that it is the elderly and vulnerable who are left behind: those who cannot raise the funds for transport to the border. He tells us:
“We want to establish an IDP (Internally Displaced People) camp around the Diocesan Headquarters. We also have over 40,000 IDPs in Liwolo Archdeaconry and about 9,000 in Gedaru Archdeaconry. There are no commodities such as soap salt, sugar, charcoals and fire wood. Restaurants, fuel and services all are no longer there.
“Pray for IDPs support, the diocesan staff, the college and the orphanage, which are still here in KajoKeji. Though there are many needs for people of KajoKeji at this difficult time, peace is the most important need for your prayers.”
In a more recent email, Canon Henry, who is based at the theological institution, shared that the college is in the process of moving their resources and furniture to a safer location to save them from being looted or destroyed. We understand that UN peacekeepers are now in Kajo-Keji, though people continue to flee in fear of a return to the war they have endured in previous years.
Of equal concern are reports of an incident in Maridi which led to the killing of several people in the north of Maridi Diocese. Having been alerted to the news by Rev Martin Atovura, we also saw the following comment in a prayer update from CMS Britian Mission Partner Lynne:
705 people have made their way to our diocese church of Nambia and are currently sheltering under trees without anything. Please pray.
Then, on Wednesday, we received the following from Bishop Justin:
“I write to express our thanks for the contributions we received for the construction of pastors’ houses. We are glad this has strengthened the faith of many people in the recent incidents.
“Two weeks ago, there was an incident in between Amaki and Kozi in which a vehicle was ambushed by unknown gunmen. The following day the army came and started burning houses, looting and destroying properties from Amaki to Kozi covering a distance of 23 miles. in all this destruction, the only houses that survived are the pastors’ houses that were constructed by the partnership contributions. I have included a photo of the pastor’s house at Amaki, which is one of those that has survived the destruction.
“The people of Amaki are now all displaced at Nambia which is 2kms north of Maridi town on Rumbek road. As we are landlocked, there is nowhere to go and we continue in prayers that God will bring these sufferings to an end. Within Maridi town, the situation is peaceful, but all the people from the outskirts of Maridi town are now being forced to all come in the town. This has brought much suffering in all aspects.
“We are preparing for our seventh synod to start on the 9th of March. Pray with us for its success. Greetings to all and thank you.”
Let us pray with renewed vigour for those whom we know in South Sudan, and as we pray for them extend our prayers to their communities, nation and leaders.