South Sudan’s Bishops Call for End to Conflict

South Sudanese woman gives alms during Mass in camp for displaced people. (CNS photo/Jim Lopez, EPA)

South Sudan’s bishops reiterated their call for an end to fighting in their country and warned of a humanitarian disaster. “The fighting and killing must stop immediately and unconditionally,” the bishops said on Sept. 25, at the end of a three-day meeting that coincided with the renewal of peace talks in Ethiopia. Last December, conflict erupted between forces loyal to South Sudan President Salva Kiir and those loyal to the rebel leader Riek Machar, Kiir’s former vice president. The fighting soon split the country along tribal lines. Thousands of South Sudanese citizens had been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. The bishops said displaced people were living in appalling conditions and warned that a famine is looming in parts of the country. “Once again we declare this war immoral, and we demand an immediate end to all hostilities so that these humanitarian concerns can be addressed,” they said. The bishops urged the international community to continue to support development in the country because “freezing funds meant for development is an invitation to more insecurity and suffering.”

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