Nuns hold down the fort in South Sudan

As the crisis continues in South Sudan, nuns are remaining in place, and providing shelter and comfort as people flee the violence in the country.

Al-Jazeera America reports:

Although a ceasefire agreement was signed in January, the deal is not reflected by the reality on the ground. On February 18, Balatti reported the White Army militia – comprised of members of the Nuer ethnic group – arrived in town.

People trying to escape on a truck were caught in the gunfire, hurling themselves from the vehicle and running to the church compound. Its walls provided protection from bullets, but only until 10am when the rebels breached the compound and started making demands of the sisters.

By evening, there were 30 gunmen in front of the cathedral searching for a pro-government fighter. One of the men readied his rocket-propelled grenade launcher and threatened to hit the church. The sisters stood their ground, doggedly negotiating for the protection of civilians. Early the next morning, Balatti and the other sisters gathered the civilians and left for the Presbyterian church, which was being used as a UN base, where they coordinated a rescue mission for those left behind.

Read the whole article here.

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