Catholic Archbishop Reaches out to IDPs in South Sudanese State Following Violent Clashes

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin of South Sudan's Juba Archdiocese addressing IDPs at Gumbo camp. Credit: Radio Bakhita/Facebook

The Catholic Archbishop of Juba in South Sudan has reached out to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country’s Eastern Equatoria State with food items following violent clashes.

On March 21, local authorities in Eastern Equatoria State confirmed the death of seven people and the displacement of hundreds when rustlers clashed with cattle herders in the Owinykibul area of Magwi County.

On Saturday, April 2, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin reached out to IDPs in Gumbo, on the outskirts of Juba, and donated some basic food items. The items included two hundred and sixty suds of different food items and twenty-five boxes of cooking oil.

Addressing the IDPs, Archbishop Ameyu highlighted the importance of his visit and assured them of his spiritual solidarity. 

He said, “We have come here to pray and share with you these little food items to support you who came from Magwi, Agoro, Aru Junction and Kubi, Lobonok and those from Lirya who (are) sheltering here.’’


“We will continue to ask well-wishers to support you with money, food and anything little they have this Lenten Season because it’s the time of giving and helping each other,” the South Sudanese Archbishop added, and implored God’s grace to help the IDPs “reduce the anger that has entered your hearts.”

In a report based on testimonies from member of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) ministering at Gumbo, there are thousands of IDPs at the camp.

“The camp in Juba for those who have been internally displaced has been consistently growing since the outbreak of war and is currently home to more than 10,000 people, mostly women and children,” the November 2021 report by Agenzia Info Salesiana (ANS) indicates.

In his April 2 address to the IDPs, the Local Ordinary of Juba Archdiocese who doubles as the Apostolic Administrator of Torit called on the Central Equatoria government to allocate more space for settlement.

“I am asking the Chief of Rejaf in Central Equatoria State to allocate a small piece of land for those who don’t have relatives in Juba,” Archbishop Ameyu said.

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On March 26, Eastern Equatoria State officials and Jonglei community leaders agreed to a planned reconciliation conference to restore relations between the host communities and pastoralists in Magwi County.

The reported violent conflict in Magwi County adds to the number of violent clashes reported in parts of the East-Central African nation in recent weeks.

Last week, Archbishop Ameyu decried the reported violent clashes in Eastern Equatoria State, and said the violence being witnessed is “work of the devil”.

In his address to IDPs on April 2, Archbishop Ameyu reflected on the violent clashes in South Sudan and appealed for an end to the differences amongst tribes.

“The issue of pointing at certain tribes will divide us all in the country but if we can stop that, we may have total peace,” the Local Ordinary of Juba Archdiocese said, and added, “South Sudan belongs to us all and anyone has the right to settle anywhere in the region.” 


The 58-year-old Catholic Church leader further called upon South Sudanese across different communities to “embrace peace, for peace is paramount for the displaced to return home.”

“We hope the situation normalizes and people return to their homes because we don’t want this death to continue; let it stop for people to see other things in their future’’ Archbishop Ameyu said April 2, and added, “Let us put our hands together so that God will help us for the country to be in total peace.”

Patrick Juma Wani is a South Sudanese journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. Patrick holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from Makerere Institute for Social Development (MISD) in Uganda. He has over 7 years of extensive experience in leading the development and implementation of media, advocacy, communication and multimedia strategy and operations, with an excellent track record of editorial leadership, budget management, and stakeholder outreach. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.