South Sudan, which became independent from Sudan in July 2011, has struggled to achieve stable government due to ethnic and political divisions between the country’s two major ethnic groups, the Dinka and Nuer.
Civil war broke out in the country in December 2013 and since then tens of thousands of people have been killed with around 2.4 million people driven from their homes. Despite a peace agreement signed in August last year, violence broke out in the capital Juba in July and has spread to other parts of the country.
Dr. Hughes said, “I am saddened to hear that the violence in South Sudan is continuing and that the country is at risk of a full-scale civil war. After almost three years the devastating economic and humanitarian effects of the war are deepening across the whole country.
“An estimated 4.3 million people are now in need of food aid, as harvests have been disturbed for yet another year and the economic downturn in the country is continuing, with inflation now at 700%.
“May I again encourage people to pray for peace in South Sudan and to remember the people living there, especially those in need of humanitarian assistance and food aid.”
Bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya, PCI has close links with the East-Central African nation through the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan. Its Moderator, Rev. Peter Gai Lual, was welcomed to Belfast for PCI’s 2014 General Assembly, where he appealed for prayer for the Church, the people of South Sudan and for the conflict to stop.
That same year, due to the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the country, PCI launched a Moderator’s Appeal for South Sudan. Presbyterians across Ireland subsequently raised £340,000 (€392,936).
“It is important that we also support the work of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan through our prayers, as they continue encouraging peace and good relations between communities, and for the key role in peace negotiations being played by the South Sudan Council of Churches,” Dr. Hughes continued.
“I would also encourage prayer too for our partners Christian Aid and Tearfund, who are working daily to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need.”
Dr. Hughes asked that people pray for:
- Peace in South Sudan
- That the warring political factions will have the will to work for a lasting peace and that an outright ethnic war and further acts of genocide will be avoided
- Those suffering displacement from their homes and who are in need of humanitarian relief, especially those facing food shortages. Pray that each person will receive the assistance they need
- The work of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan, as they continue encouraging peace and good relations between communities, and for wisdom and guidance for its leadership team seeking to lead the church during such difficult times. Remember in prayer, Rt. Rev. Peter Gai Lual, (Moderator), Rev. John Yor Nyiker, (General Secretary) and Rev. James Makuei Choul, (Executive Director of the Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency)
- For the South Sudan Council of Churches, which has been working hard in peace negotiations over the past few years, and remember them as they continue this work
- For our partners Christian Aid and Tearfund who are working daily in South Sudan providing humanitarian assistance to those in need. Pray that they will get better access to all areas of the country and for the protection of their staff and for courage, strength and energy as they work in difficult and dangerous situations.
For more information on the work of Christian Aid and Tearfund in South Sudan and to donate to their work in the country, see Christian Aid – South Sudan and Tearfund - South Sudan.