By Bronwen Dachs, Catholic News Service
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- Sudan and South Sudan need to finalize their borders so that people in the world's newest country can get to work growing crops in the lush fertile region, said Fr. Peter Othow, coordinator of development and aid for South Sudan's Malakal Diocese.
"People who live in the border area are tense," Fr. Othow said in a July 10 telephone interview from Malakal, which is seen as one of the potential flashpoints along the 1,300 mile-border with Sudan.
"They can't settle, because they feel that anything could happen," he said, noting that during a surge of violence in May people fled from surrounding rural areas to Malakal and are afraid to go back.
Some have moved a mile south of "where they think the border will be, so that they are free to cultivate" the land, he said.
With "good security, everything can be achieved," said Fr Othow, who was born and raised in South Sudan.
He said church programs aim to help communities to be "food secure without depending on the North or neighboring countries."