Loading
South Sudanese diocese evacuated due to violence, looting
Refugees from South Sudan. Credit: Aid to the Church in Need.
Refugees from South Sudan. Credit: Aid to the Church in Need.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The South Sudanese Malakal diocese has been evacuated as many areas there have been “completely destroyed” following violence committed by rebel forces, the diocesan administrator says.

“We have lost everything – all our possessions. Many of our churches, homes and so on have been razed to the ground – and everything has been looted,” Msgr. Roko Taban, administrator of the Diocese of Malakal, told Aid to the Church in Need March 13.

South Sudan was formed in 2011 when the region gained independence from the Republic of Sudan following a 20-year-long civil war. Recently, the nascent country erupted in violence again as forces loyal to South Sudanese president Salva Kiir and those allied behind former vice president Riek Machar have come into conflict.

The conflict has led to at least 739,000 becoming internally displaced, and 123,000 refugees.

While a ceasefire was signed Jan. 23, within weeks fighting broke again. Both sides accuse each other of initiating the renewed violence, which began in Malakal Feb. 18. Patients in hospital in the city have been murdered in their beds, according to Doctors without Borders.

Msgr. Taban said there have been mass evacuations in the states of Unity, Upper Nile, and Jonglei. There has been mass looting and attacks on both hospitals and pharmacies, and malaria and diarrhea are on the rise.

All diocesan priests and women religious are fleeing to the south.

“Nobody (is) in Malakal. They ran for their lives. It was not possible for anybody to stay. The diocese is completely empty. We have lost everything as a diocese … all documents have gone. No vehicles. There is absolutely nothing left.”

When looting came to Malakal, many of the city’s 250,000 fled “to the bush,” he said, to villages now overwhelmed with the displaced.

Msgr. Taban and the priests of the diocese are now staying at a seminary in Juba, the South Sudanese capital. Four priests remained in the diocese, but were waiting to be evacuated.

He said his priests are in need of a food supply for six months, prayer books, and vestments, to replace what had to be left behind in Malakal.

In 2010, the Malakal diocese was served by 12 diocesan priests, and 10 religious. It’s 876,000 Catholics consituted nearly 20 percent of the population. Msgr. Taban has been administrator of the diocese since May 2009, when its last bishop, Vincent Mojwok Nyiker, retired.

A Comboni missionary who also fled Malakal, Sr. Elena Balatti, told Fides the city is “completely deserted, although our safety was guaranteed. Staying there would have been completely useless because we would not have had anyone to assist. The rebels are the only ones present.”

Msgr. Taban appealed for the Malakal diocese, saying he and his people “need special attention of solidarity and love.”

“We are miserable. Kindly remember us in your prayers.”

Tags: Diocese of Malakal

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
20

Liturgical Calendar

December 20, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Judg 13: 2-7, 24-25A
Gospel:: Lk 1: 5-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14