South Sudan Needs Your Prayers, Say Christian Leaders As Country Moves Closer To Civil War

Martin Andrea, 10, and a friend play with toy guns made fromreeds at a displaced persons camp protected by UN peacekeepers in Wau, South Sudan.Reuters

Inflation is an incredible 700 per cent in South Sudan.

More than four million people are on the brink of starvation.

Now Christian activists are appealing for prayers for the country and its people after a United Nations warning that it is at risk of civil war and genocide.

South Sudan is the world's newest country, having gained independence from Sudan in 2011. 

Rev Liz Hughes, convener of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's global mission council, has spoken out for the second time after aid workers in South Sudan report escalating economic tensions and conflict between the Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups.

Liz Hughes of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland

The United Nations has warned that South Sudan is "at risk of outright ethnic war, and of genocide being committed."

Civil war broke out in the country in December 2013.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and 2.4 million people driven from their homes.

A peace agreement reached in August last year is failing to hold properly.

Dr Hughes said: "An estimated 4.3 million people are now in need of food aid, as harvests have been disturbed for yet another year and the economic downturn in the country is continuing, with inflation now at 700 per cent.

"May I again encourage people to pray for peace in South Sudan and to remember the people living there, especially those in need of humanitarian assistance and food aid."

The Irish church has close links with Christians in the area through the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan.

Dr Hughes said: "It is important that we also support the work of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan through our prayers, as they continue encouraging peace and good relations between communities, and for the key role in peace negotiations being played by the South Sudan Council of Churches.

"I would also encourage prayer too for our partners Christian Aid and Tearfund, who are working daily to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need."