South Sudan’s deadline for a peace agreement was missed over the weekend, leading citizens to worry about the impending famine as civil war in the nation continues. The South Sudanese government and opposing forces were supposed to form a transitional government but Sunday (Aug. 10), but were unable to meet the negotiation deadline reports Christian Today.
Conflict arose in the world’s newest nation in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir said former vice president Riek Machar was attempting a coup; Kiir had removed Machar from office in July 2013.
Political unrest has threatened the nation in the months following Kiir’s accusation. Ethnic tension has also contributed to the turmoil, as Kiir belong to the Dinka ethnic group; Machar is a part of the Nuer community.
Violence has broken out killing thousands and 1.5 million people have been forced out of their homes, farmers abandoning their crops. Famine is an impending risk, as 4 million people will be affected by the food crisis.
Christian Aid director of policy and public affairs Christine Allen said, "People are very fearful – they're traumatised, and the culture of violence is very strong.”
South Sudanese churches have reached out to citizens for refuge amidst the crisis. Allen said, "They say 'This is not Rwanda'. Within that, the churches are the only credible place – it's the only credible political space, as there isn't much confidence in political leaders, but they're also the only physical space where people can come together."
Publication date: August 12, 2014