AC News Service: South Sudan bishops appeal for support as new areas hit by conflict

“It is important to speed up the process of mobilising resources so that help can reach people suffering now, with no water, no food, no medicine . . . Please share with friends, partners, so that people can get something. It's a sad situation, very painful,” urged Bishop Stephen Dokolo of Lui Diocese.

Bishop Stephen explained that communities in Greater Equatoria depend on the land for their livelihood, growing and harvesting food to sustain them throughout the year. Pastoralist communities that rely on livestock have come from the north looking for green pastures for their animals.

“The two can’t really mix,” said Bishop Stephen. Underlying tensions have exploded into conflict, particularly when a governmental decree that the cattle should be taken back home was not respected, he reported. This escalated with the involvement of government forces. Communities have fled to the forest or further afield to camps in nearby towns or even Juba, the capital.

People hiding in the forest do not have access to water and are relying on wild plants for food, said Bishop Stephen.

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