The cardinal and Bishop Kenney have appealed for peace and humanitarian assistance for the troubled country

Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Bishop William Kenney have released a statement regarding recent violence in Juba, South Sudan.

In the statement, the two bishops refer to the surge in violence as a “tragedy” and request that “violence should cease and that people whatever their differences should build a nation of peace”.

The bishops go on to convey their concern that the violence may prevent South Sudan, the youngest country in the world, from developing into a “successful” nation.

The statement expresses their condolences for the families who have lost loved ones and those who have fled the capital in search of safety and food. They appeal to Cafod to find ways in which humanitarian assistance can be provided.

In their concluding remarks, Cardinal Nichols and Bishop Kenney write: “We pray for peace and calm, and ask the Catholic Church in England and Wales to pray for the people of South Sudan. We ask the Lord to ‘put an end to war’ and to ‘break the bow’ and ‘snap the spear’.”

The statement comes after increased political tension and violence in the capital between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir Mayardit and those faithful to the vice-president James Wani Igga.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011. There is a fear that the fighting might result in the country returning to civil war.