South Sudan grapples with contentious issues

February 6, 2012

The Church in South Sudan and its partners in the U.S. are frustrated that their efforts to build peace in the infant country are threatened, but they have not given up, Catholic officials said.

A serious political deadlock between South Sudan and its northern neighbour, Sudan, over the split of oil revenues "could lead to a declaration of war," said Auxiliary Bishop Santo Loku Pio Doggale of Juba, capital of South Sudan.

Doggale said he and other Church leaders met with South Sudan President Salva Kiir and other senior government officials in Juba after the government announced Jan. 20 that it was shutting down oil production immediately.

"We are very concerned that no agreement has been reached with Sudan" on contentious issues, the bishop said in a Jan. 25 telephone interview.