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ICC Note: A ceasefire has begun in South Sudan after days of violent fighting that resulted in the massacre of countless people, primarily Christians. The ceasefire was declared in Juba by President Salva Kiir on Tuesday, July 12, after five days of fighting. The violence in the past week has been horrific, according to reports from the area; children and disabled people have been murdered in horrific ways, people have been burnt alive, and various types of sexual violence have been reported. Thousands of civilians are now taking refuge in churches as the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan continues. The conflict is fundamentally political, not religious, but afflicts a Christian community in the north of the country with conflict from two sides. Christians in the Nuba Mountains face attacks from north Sudan attempting to exterminate them through militia attacks and relentless bombing campaigns.

07/13/2016, South Sudan (Christian Post) – Although a ceasefire has been declared in South Sudan following days of devastating fighting, a humanitarian emergency has gripped the nation with untold numbers massacred, and thousands more seeking refuge inside churches.

“It was a massacre although the number of victims is still unknown, church sources in the area told Fides News Agency. “The humanitarian issue is the most urgent, starting from the lack of drinking water. Thousands of people have taken refuge in churches and much is being done to offer them assistance, despite a thousand difficulties. The International Red Cross has managed to send their teams in the two main hospitals,”

President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar declared a ceasefire in Juba on Tuesday, The Guardian reported, following five days of heavy fighting marking the five year anniversary of the formation of the world’s youngest nation.

Many Christians have lost their lives in the civil war, though the exact numbers remain a mystery. Reports suggested that over 300 people, including scores of civilians, were killed in the violence this past week, but international monitoring groups are yet to provide a full estimate.

Churches have been one of the only sources of refuge for the people trapped in the civil war. They have also confirmed U.N. reports of horrors such as mass rapes, and children and the disabled being burned alive.

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