Catholic Bishop Calls for “unconditional” Ceasefire amid Violence in South Sudanese State

Bishop Stephen Nyodho Ador Majwok of South Sudan’s Malakal Diocese. Credit: Eye Radio

The Catholic Bishop of South Sudan’s Malakal Diocese has called upon parties in the violent conflict in Upper Nile State, a territory in his Episcopal See, to “unconditionally cease from violence”.

Upper Nile State has been experiencing intercommunal violent clashes since August, with an unknown number of people killed and over 9,000 others displaced, Reuters has reported.

In an interview with Eye Radio reported Thursday, December 15, Bishop Stephen Nyodho Ador Majwok said the people in Upper Nile “are paying the unnecessary price of a crime that they never committed.”

“Let’s work for peace; let’s work for reconciliation; let’s see the brighter future of the country, of our sons and daughters,” Bishop Nyodho said.

He called on the warring parties to “unconditionally cease from violence for you’re all brothers and sisters,” 


The 49-year-old South Sudanese Bishop who has been the Local Ordinary of Malakal Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in July 2019 further urged sons and daughters of greater Upper Nile “to come together and see the common good and the interest of the region.”

“I sincerely call upon you to listen to the voice of reason and see the suffering of your people,” Bishop Nyodho said.

On December 7, the UN Refugee Agency said it is alarmed by the escalating armed conflict in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State, which has displaced at least 20,000 people since August, some of them forced to flee for their lives up to four times as the conflict rages.  

The armed conflict erupted in the village of Tonga in Upper Nile on 15 August 2022. Violence has since spread further in Upper Nile, northern parts of Jonglei, and Unity states. It is currently advancing in Upper Nile’s Fashoda County and is threatening the town of Kodok. 

On December 8, members of the Upper Nile Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation (UNIPR), a coalition of various churches in the State, called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Upper Nile State.

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Addressing journalists at a press conference, UNIPR chairperson urged the warring parties to embrace peace and dialogue in a bid to restore stability.

“We, the pastors of different churches and members of the Upper Nile Religious Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation (UNRIPR), regret the tragic violent displacement of so many innocent people, especially women, children, and the elderly, caused by the tension in Upper Nile State,” Fr. Paolino Tipo Deng said.

Fr. Tipo Deng added, “We condemn and reject such senseless and unnecessary war among people of one nation who are supposed to be living in peace and harmony, collaborating together for their good.” 

“We urge the warring parties to a ceasefire and stop blood-shedding,” Fr. Tipo Deng told journalists during the press conference held at the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) headquarters in Juba.

He urged President Salva Kiir and First Vice President, Riek Machar, and all peace partners to take immediate action “to stop the fighting and open up their hearts in a sincere dialogue to address the root causes of this conflict.”


In a December 7 statement, President Kiir said that he had ordered the deployment of unified forces in Upper Nile to protect civilians.

According to Fr. Tipo Deng, though they opt for dialogue as a means to resolve the dispute in the Upper Nile State, “they respect the government’s decision to deploy forces in the area.”

He said religious leaders plan to hold peace conferences within the community “to encourage cooperation among the many ethnic groups in Upper Nile State.”

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.