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Faith leaders warn: refugees will starve unless ceasefire in South Sudan

by Hannah Tooley

Heavy fighting in the Mundri region, in the south west of the country, has left thousands of people who have fled the conflict without access to food or shelter. 

South Sudan conflict:

Began 15th December 2013 after opposition leaders voted to boycott a meeting 

President Salva Kiir order the commander of the army to leave the meeting place and disarm troops

Only Dinka people (an ethnicity in South Sudan) were allowed to be re-armed

The commander questioned these orders and fighting broke out 

Thousands have been killed in the conflict since

Members of the Inter-Faith Council for Peace in Western Equatoria said that families are trapped living rough.

Civil war which has plagued the country since December 2013.

Many Catholic families had been forced to flee from their homes, sheltering in Church buildings, but some have been further displaced and been forced to flee into the bush.

The council released a statement saying: "As we speak people are already dying, and in particular children and elderly people.

"During the past two months more than 80,000 people had been forced to live in the bush and the jungle in the area. Children and women are those most affected.

"They will be exposed to a variety of epidemics and to starvation if they don't get help soon."

It is thought that this current conflict in the region began tribe members were allergy killed by government troops.

Bishop Eduardo Kussala of Tombura Yambio and Maaki Juma Daud head of the region's Muslim community sit on the council and are calling for an immediate stop to the gun battles so that displaced families can receive aid.

Father David Kulandai Samy, from Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, has worked in the area since 2012, and described the crisis to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need: "Our parish people who have moved into bushes are facing untold misery - particularly children suffer without food, water and medical assistance.

"Community people's standing crops have been destroyed and their assets were looted, including cattle."

He was almost killed by the fighting himself: "With the grace of God we had a narrow escape from gunfire and we thank God for having survived till today".

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