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Civil war plaguing Christian South Sudan

by Desmond Busteed

The predominantly Christian South Sudanese were so full of hope four years ago when the country celebrated independence from the majority Muslim population of Sudan after 21 years of turmoil, but renewed fighting in Upper Nile and Unity states has left thousands of other people without homes.

Peace negotiations collapsed in March after President Kiir and rebel leader Machar failed to agree on a power sharing deal.

"We're not seeing direct conflict between Sudan and South Sudan. What we're really, really focussed on is the internal conflict, the fighting between the opposition and the Government, that's what is having the primary effect on the people we're trying to serve," said Perry Mansfield, World Vision South Sudan's National Director to Premier.

It's claimed South Sudan's economy is also dangerously on the verge of collapse. The government has denied this but oil production, the only foreign exchange earner for the country has dropped by nearly a third.

That, the conflict and a drop in global oil prices has escalated the already fragile fledgling state.

The UN mission in South Sudan has also published a report condemning the government offensive. UNMISS accused government forces and their allies of burning people alive in their homes, raping women and killing civilians.

The rebels too and their militia - the white army - have been accused of human rights abuses.

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