“The IDPs are settling in many areas of the Diocese but the group I am talking about came from Panyikang county from the IDP camp that was attacked by the elements of the militia,” Sr. Balatti told ACI Africa September 8.
In a report published Tuesday, September 6, officials of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), say there were gross abuses of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law in Unity state.
They note that the violations were committed during clashes between joint Government Forces and affiliated armed militias/groups on one hand, and elements of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO RM)) loyal to former Vice-President Riek Machar, on the other.
In the September 8 interview with ACI Africa, Sr. Balatti said, “The current conflict is a mix of armed violence with political motivation and tribal enmities or grievances as a result of lack of understanding among people belonging to ethnic groups and the conflict of interest; unfortunately, some elements in each group decided to solve problems using violence.”
The Italian-born CMS member added in reference to the parties in conflict, “They don’t really solve the problems but instead increase human suffering because the human suffering we have seen these days is very huge in the Upper Nile.”
“The challenge is very big and the church as Caritas Malakal offers small contributions through support of our partners like CAFOD, Trocaire and Caritas Austria to assist in this situation,” she said.
Sr. Balatti added that Caritas Malakal is also working with Catholic Parishes of the South Sudanese Diocese to “help with the little that will come from our partners but the political and peace building work at high level or the level of the government is not our role.”
“We really pray that the government may intervene to look into the matter and see that action can be taken to solve these conflicts that are ongoing in Upper Nile and other areas,” the Director of Caritas Malakal told ACI Africa September 8.
The small contribution that the development and humanitarian arm of Malakal Diocese offers is “in the hope that peace and stability will allow citizens to devote themselves to the ordinary activities of life such as livelihoods, education, and any other activities that human beings are created for in order to live well in this world,” she said.
The CMS member who started her missionary service in Sudan in 1994 further said, “We don't believe that peace is something that we have to build in our world, even a little bit of justice is also needed.