By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (email@example.com)
SOUTH SUDAN. (ANS-July 12, 2016) The renewed fighting in South Sudan has raised serious concerns around safety and security of the people of the new, and increasingly fragile country.
According to a news release from ACT Alliance, the situation has rapidly deteriorated over the last couple of days, with a reported death toll of nearly 300 people, and armed violence erupting in Juba and surrounding areas.
South Sudan, which has just marked five years of independence has experienced a politically instigated civil war since Dec. 2013, occasioned by a conflict between President Salva Kiir and Vice president Riek Machar. A peace deal was reached in Aug. 2015.
“We are alarmed by the developments and concerned that what was achieved in the last decade and through last year’s peace agreement may be lost in a matter of days,” said Pauliina Parhiala, ACT Alliance Director speaking in the release.
Church leaders and churches in South Sudan have decried the violence and called for its cessation.
In a statement the South Sudan Council of Churches, said “We, the leaders of the Church in South Sudan, are extremely disturbed about the fatal shootings which occurred in Juba on the evenings of 7th and 8th July 2016 and the morning of 10th July. We make no judgement as to how or why they occurred, nor who is to blame, but we note with concern that there have been a number of incidents recently, and that tension is increasing.”
The statement added, “We condemn all acts of violence without exception. The time for carrying and using weapons has ended; now is the time to build a peaceful nation.”
With the renewed conflict comes an important humanitarian mandate to protect and safeguard the lives of innocent people in South Sudan, ACT Alliance said.
Parhiala added in the release, “While we join our members and the voice of churches in South Sudan to call for peace and immediate end to the violence, we also highlight the absolute need that those resorting to violence and the international community ensure humanitarian access for the sake of the affected populations.”
“International Human Rights Law and humanitarian principles remain sacrosanct and must be upheld without exception by all,” Parhiala said.
ACT Alliance is a coalition of 140 churches and faith-based organizations working together in over 100 countries to create positive and sustainable change in the lives of poor and marginalized people regardless of their religion, politics, gender, sexual orientation, race or nationality in keeping with the highest international codes and standards.
For more information visit www.actalliance.org.
Photo captions: 1) Members of the rebel White Army (pictured), so-called after the ash its fighters sometimes smear on themselves, are said to be killing anyone they suspect of supporting the government. (APF) 2) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.
About the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on the book are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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