AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Situation in Juba has calmed down but looting continues, tomorrow prayer for the nation

Friday, 15 July 2016 armed groups  

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - The situation has calmed down in Juba, capital of South Sudan, after fighting between the forces of President Salva and those loyal to First Vice President Riek Machar ceased four days ago. Some of the thousands of people who had taken refuge in churches and those who were hiding in the bush are trying to return home. "Not everyone can, because there are still unsafe areas in the city", local sources told Agenzia Fides. Churches together with humanitarian organizations have tried to offer support to displaced persons.
People who risk being killed because of their ethnicity, such as the Nuer, seek refuge at the UN base. "There were no ethnic massacres like those of December 2013, when the civil war broke out, but there were killings on ethnic grounds. No one knows the precise number of victims, as indeed we will probably never know with certainty the number of deaths caused by the civil war from 2013 to 2015".
The most serious damage occurred in areas where fighting was more intense, but the worst thing is not so much the damage to buildings from the blows of heavy weapons, but the massive looting that followed. The fighters have begun looting despite appeals of their leaders to stop, then followed by civilians who have taken the rest.
Even the main warehouse of the World Food Programme has been looted. Food aid, enough to feed 20,000 people for one month, is stored in the warehouse, to be then distributed in the various UN bases in southern Sudan, a Country which because of the civil war, is experiencing a dramatic food crisis. According to information sent to Agenzia Fides, the WFP warehouse is still unprotected and looting continues by civilians.
The South Sudan Council of Churches has organized for tomorrow, Saturday, July 16, a prayer for the nation. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 15/07/2016)