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JUBA - 27 Nov 2015

Western Equatoria bishop calls for peace, aid for 275 orphans

The Episcopal Bishop of Olo Diocese in Western Equatoria says that the churches under his care are still suffering fear and insecurity owing to recent violence in neighboring areas and he says they have also been left to care for hundreds of orphans of a tanker explosion that occurred in September.

Olo Diocese is a new diocese created out of Maridi Diocese, headed by Bishop Tandemo Obed since his enthronement in late March this year. It is located between Mundri West and Greater Maridi, which have both seen conflict between SPLA soldiers and local armed groups.

“Whenever things are going wrong in Mundri or in Maridi automatically it affects my diocese because it is in the middle. When we see all these rumors, wars and all that taking place around us is the influx of the IDPs either from Mundri or Maridi,” said the bishop in an interview yesterday.

The bishop went on to say that the flow of people from the neighboring areas through Olo made people to fear that “the next target will be their places.” He explained, “Everybody is fearing what is going to happen next... in the Diocese of Olo we are not feeling okay.”

He noted security improvement n Maridi County but said the eastern part of his diocese was still affected by reports of insecurity in Mundri. “The western part is a bit secure but the eastern part [of the diocese] people are still fearing because of that situation in Mundri.”

He pointed out that the role of the bishop is prayer and counseling and peace-making. The bishop noted that his diocese covers the area where a tanker truck recently exploded killing many people and leaving many people wounded or orphaned.

The bishop said that the Maridi County tanker explosion left 275 orphans. The church is supporting eight orphans who are merely infants, but most others are now in the care of relatives without outside help, according to the church leader.

“The victims need help. And this help it is us to put our hands together, either the church or the government or the international community. So that we can help those people whom they are suffering. Because they feel now vulnerable. They thought that this is the end, but it is still our hope that one day they will recover from all this explosion,” he said.

“To the citizens of South Sudan: let us come together... each person individually, let us start from our homes, then to our neighbors, then to all over South Sudan, so that we realize this peace.” He said that there is still hope and one day God will change the situation in his diocese and in the country.

File photo: Bishop Tandemo Obed after his enthronement in March 2015 (Gurtong/ Joseph Nashion)