Friday, January 13, 2012

Our Mission and the Pibor Conflict

We've heard concerns from many friends for the safety of our mission team. The Pibor Conflict, which has resulted in 5,000 civillian casualties in South Sudan, has many of our friends concerned. Please pray for the people of the Pibor region during this difficult time. Kent Lutheran's team will be working in a Nuer region of South Sudan, with the Gajaak Nuer clan in Upper Nile State. The aggressors in the Pibor Conflict were the Lou Nuer, a different clan, in the Jonglei State. The tribal war in Jonglei between the Lou Nuer and Murle tribes is about grazing terrority and power, and predates the country's civil war. In fact, the conflict dates to the 1920s according to Peter Manyang, our team's resident newshound, who originally comes from Jonglei State. He assures us that the Lou Nuer and Murle borders do not cross state lines. Remember, in independence, the state and local governments stayed intact, and transferred only national allegiance, so state governments are aware of these regional conflicts. Crossing a state border would be catastrophic for any aggressor. Also, Peter reports that by 4x4, the Pibor Region is a four-day drive from our mission site in Upper Nile, and the Lou Nuer are not using vehicles. (Click the map above to enlarge). For safety-purposes, our team is registering with the US State Departments' STEP program, including latitude and longitute of our camp, and radio signals. We'll also be close enough to cross the National border to Ethiopia if any conflict were to arise, our team could evacuate in under one day. Even with these assurances of safety, we covet your prayers for health, safety and peace in South Sudan.

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