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South Sudan Missionary: "Going there is like going down to hell"

Vatican Diplomatic Corps does not give up on countries such as Venezuela and South Sudan, although only now have recent attempts not worked.  CARD. PETER TURKSON Prefect, Dicastery for Human Development  "There were several mediation initiatives in South Sudan. I myself was involved in two of them. All public services have collapsed. Officials are not paid, and that's why people come out with their rifles looking for rewards, sometimes raping women, for example." Yudith is a missionary who has been working in Africa for almost 20 years. While at the Vatican, she said that the atrocities she has seen in South Sudan are impossible to forget.  SR. YUDITH PEREIRA Solidarity with South Sudan "Being there in February and seeing it is like going down to hell. There is so much poverty, and people have so much anguish... it is a terrible experience.â? Hunger and war have been responsible for the displacement of more than three million people, a quarter of its population.  Most of them now live in neighboring Uganda, which has become the second largest refugee country in the world. The stories they tell are inconceivable.  GAIRI "I was at home and they came for my husband at night and they took him away. They slaughtered him.â? MARY OPANGI "That timeâ?¦ that timeâ?¦ there are guns, people areâ?¦ those Dinkas, they are killing people, thatâ??s why we came.â?  More than 60 percent of these refugees are children, and they are considered the lucky ones. The UN estimates that more than 15,000 children have been called to take arms to fight in a war where rape, hunger and cold-blooded executions have become the daily norm.  JRB/JC MG / RR -VM -PR Up:FV