South Sudanese Catholic Diocese Appeals for Help to Support Returnees from War-Torn Sudan

Bishop Stephen Nyodho Ador Majwok of the Catholic Diocese of Malakal in South Sudan. Credit: ACI Africa

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Malakal in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State has described the situation of returnees from war-torn Sudan as “very bad” and appealed to the international community to support the diocese that is reaching out to those affected by the violence. 

In a Friday, July 28 interview with ACI Africa Bishop Stephen Nyodho Ador Majwok said those fleeing the war that broke out on April 15 between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are in dire need of assistance as their living conditions continue to deteriorate daily. 

“The situation of the returnees as they wait for their flights and boats to relocate them to different parts of the country is very bad,” Bishop Majwok said, and added, “Thousands of returnees now in Upper Nile State are living in very deplorable conditions without food and shelter.”

He appealed for assistance for those fleeing the violence, saying, “We are asking our partners and donors to continue helping our Diocese to extend help to these vulnerable people.” 

The South Sudanese Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of the Catholic Diocese of Malakal since his Episcopal Ordination in July 2019 said the most pressing need of those returning from Sudan is food.


The returnees also need shelter, Bishop Majwok said, and explained, “It rained here two days ago and it was very cold. I wondered how those people out in the open were managing when I could feel how cold it was even though I was in the house. I felt sorry for them and I couldn’t sleep because I knew there were children, elderly people, pregnant women and even newborn babies out there in the cold.”

The Diocese of Malakal has distinguished itself for providing first response to the South Sudanese and Sudanese people fleeing the violence that has reportedly left 234 people in Sudan’s capital Khartoum dead. Those dead are likely to be double this official figure, according to a Reuters report.

“Our Diocese, through our humanitarian coordinator, was the first to respond in the transportation of the people when the conflict erupted in Sudan on 15 April by sending a boat to bring the returnees from Renk (a county in Upper Nile State) to Malakal,” Bishop Majwok said.

 “Caritas office is also providing food and non-food items to the new arrivals in response to their needs,” the South Sudanese Catholic Bishop said.

The 50-year-old Church leader also appealed to the Government and humanitarian organizations to continue supporting the returnees in providing the much-needed assistance to them. 

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Renk is an important hub of trade with Sudan using river transport. When Sudan's war erupted, those who fled the war arrived at Renk before their safe evacuation to various parts of the country. Most of the returnees were ferried using boats while others were flown to other places using chartered planes paid for by authorities in respective States.

Kerbino Kuel Deng is a South Sudanese journalist who is passionate about Church communication. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.