Church strives for peace in South Sudan

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As all measures to maintain the fragile peace in South Sudan are being taken, the population continues to suffer the consequences of war and poverty. The rain isn't helping the situation in the country, which barely has any infrastructure and where the constant violence has completely isolated entire populations. Not even UN convoys can travel those roads.

In the midst of this difficult context, the Church is working on all fronts, especially to help thousands of internally displaced people.

“Our village was destroyed. Some of our relatives were killed. We are left alone. All the elders were killed. I am praying to God that peace will reach our country.”

Bishop Eduardo Hiboro Kussala works in collaboration with the UN to promote peace and coexistence among the people of South Sudan. An important part of this job is putting an end to the violence. This year thousands of child soldiers have been set free.

Bishop of Tombura-Yambio
“We were able to face the people in the bush and managed to bring out of the bush over 10,000 young men who were there ready to kill, ready to fight. Many times, we were humiliated by these boys in the bush, yet we kept on.”

In a country that has suffered civil war since its beginning, the road to peace requires national reconciliation. This is a task to which the Church is completely committed.

Bishop of Tombura-Yambio
“We will still pursue communities who are still at odds with one another. There is still tribalism in our communities – people still define themselves by their tribes. We still have hatred among learned people, politicians and the communities. We still have wounded people who are still holding individuals as a reason for the death of their family members. We still have children who are angry with members of their communities who have abused them. So, this is a programme for us.”

Tribalism has had a lot to do with the conflict. The president, Salva Kiir, belongs to the Dinka. His rival, Riek Machar, belongs to the Nuer. After various failed intents, in September, both signed a peace agreement that seems definitive, but has not yet been implemented.

Pope Francis has expressed his desire to visit the country in March with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. They will make the trip if the terms of the agreement are kept. This would entail the formation of a united government including the two warring factions.

Àngeles Conde
Translation: Claudia Torres

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