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Archbishop urges prayers as violence mounts in South Sudan

More than 200,000 people have been displaced amid the fighting

Monday 6th January 2014

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged the Anglican Communion to pray and advocate for an end to the intense fighting which has overtaken large regions of South Sudan in recent days.

Over 500 people are feared dead in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, where fighting first broke out. The violence has since spread, particularly affecting Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile States.

Archbishop Justin wrote to Anglican primates and moderators today at the request of Archbishop Daniel Deng Yak, Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan.

Writing to Archbishop Justin, Archbishop Daniel asked for sustained prayer, for advocacy on an immediate peace process, and for humanitarian support from across the Anglican Communion.

Describing the desperate situation of conflict in which at least 1,000 people - and likely many more - have lost their lives and over 200,000 people have been displaced, Archbishop Daniel said: “We as the church are deeply concerned and worried that if the situation is not contained it will lead to chaos which is uncontrollable." 

In an account of his visit to Awerial to witness the situation for the communities displaced by intense fighting in Bor, Archbishop Daniel described how some are occupying churches and schools, while others are living under trees.

In his letter to Anglican Communion leaders, Archbishop Justin stressed that the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan has reached "breaking point", and urged leaders to advocate for urgent support from aid organisations. 

He added: "I commend the appeal for the church's own response through the Sudan Development and Relief Agency (SUDRA) which will soon be promulgated through the Anglican Alliance."

The Archbishop said the feast of the Epiphany “reminds us of the showing of Jesus Christ as the saviour who has come for the healing of nations."

Ending his letter, he offered “greetings and prayers that the peace and healing of our Saviour may be the balm for all that is broken and wounded in our world.”

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