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South Sudan 2015

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A girl looks at Sister Cathy Arata, a School Sister of Notre Dame from New Jersey, during a women's conference on peacebuilding in Abyei, a contested region along the border between Sudan and South Sudan. Under a 2005 peace agreement, the region was supposed to have a referendum to decide which country it would join, but the two countries have yet to agree on who can vote. In 2011, militias aligned with Khartoum drove out most of the Dinka Ngok residents, pushing them across a river into the town of Agok. Yet more than 40,000 Dinka Ngok have since returned with support from Caritas South Sudan, which has drilled wells, built houses, opened clinics and provided seeds and tools for the returnees. Peace remains elusive, however, and Caritas is supporting a series of conferences between all the stakeholders in the area. Sister Arata works with Solidarity with South Sudan, a network of Catholic groups supporting education and pastoral work in the new African country.