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South Sudan Cathedral opens doors to hundreds of refugees. 

Middle East and North Africa

South Sudan Cathedral opens doors to hundreds of refugees. 

St Mary’s Cathedral in Wau, South Sudan, has taken in thousands of refugees fleeing the war in south Sudan in the last couple of weeks, according to reports coming from the war-torn country.

Father Moses Peter, a priest at St. Mary’s Cathedral, the largest church in the country, said all those coming, “Believe that even rebels still fear God and would not slaughter civilians in the backyard of a church.”

He added: “Many other churches have also taken in hundreds of people.”

Refugees fleeing the war reveal their own harrowing experiences. “Soldiers burned our houses, took our cattle, and almost murdered my whole village,” said Maria, a disabled and elderly woman who for a year has sought refuge at been living at St. Marys. “I don’t know why I was spared, but I was left alone and helpless,” she added.

Juda, a blind refugee said he “has nothing to return to, so I will wait here in the church.”

About 700 child refugees flee South Sudan into bordering Uganda every week, according to Christian Today.

The cathedral is undergoing pressure from the incoming refugees as resources run out. “Between hunger and insecurity, people face a lot of pressure here,” said Fr Peter.

The Bishops in Wau have appealed for assistance. “Those who have the ability to make changes for the good of our people have not taken heed of our previous pastoral messages,” the bishops said, expressing their frustrations with the long wait for aid.

South Sudan erupted into a civil war three years ago as the government was split between factions led by the President, Salva Kiir and former vict-president Reik Machar.

Hassan, a local business man complained that corruption, inflation and lootings have aggravated the famine in the country. “There could be enough for all,” he told IRIN, saying, “if people had money, food would be available to them.”

“I am not confident about peace,” said Juda, the blind man at St. Mary’s. “If it doesn’t come, I don’t know if I’ll ever have a place to call home again besides this church.”

 

Hassan John Is West Africa Editor for Global Christian News.

Image Credits: Google images