Diocese in South Sudan 'completely destroyed' by new fighting
Catholic World News - March 14, 2014
A Church leader in South Sudan has reported that much of his diocese has been “completely destroyed” in fighting that has continued despite announcements of a cease-fire in the young African nation.
Msgr. Roko Taban, the apostolic administrator of the Malakal diocese, told Aid to the Church in Need that thousands of people have abandoned their homes to escape a new rebel offensive. ““We have lost everything-- all our possessions,” he said. “Many of our churches, homes and so on have been razed to the ground – and everything has been looted.” He reported that all the women religious living in the region had left, and the last four bishops of the Malakal diocese were planning their own departure this week.
Despite the cease-fire announced in January between rebels and the government, the fighting that erupted in December has continued, with both sides accusing the other of breaking the agreement. The UN warned in February that the gtovernment of South Sudan—which became independent from Sudan in 2011 after a long and bloody civil war—was in danger of collapse. As many as 900,000 people have been driven from their homes by the new outbreak of violence, the UN reports.
Msgr. Taban said displaced people from the Malakal diocese have disappeared into the bush, fled to other small villages, or sought help in a UN refugee camps. None of these places is equipped to handle the influx, he said, and the refugees face a dire need for food, housing, clothing, and medical supplies.
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