Juba – “We are heart-broken to see what was purely a political problem in the ruling party, SPLM , quickly slides into an ethnic one on a rapid and frightening scale”, said a statement sent to Fides Agency by the South Sudan Council of the Church , the body that brings together the major Christian denominations in South Sudan, including the Catholic Church.
Since mid-December fighting between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels of former Vice President Riek Machar have caused thousands of deaths, 400,000 internally displaced persons and more than 80,000 South Sudanese refugees in neighboring Countries . “This is an abomination!” warn Christian leaders who express their sympathy with the victims and to the people fleeing. The representatives of the Christian churches launch an appeal to the parties in conflict to immediately cease hostilities, allow the creation of humanitarian corridors to help the people in need and resolve their disputes in a peaceful manner.
Christian leaders are committed to promoting peace, even through the establishment of village committees and invite the faithful not to fall into the trap of clashes among ethnic groups: “God created us members of diverse ethnic communities, but leaders use their respective ethnic identities to sow hatred and divide the people along ethnic lines. This tendency must be resisted by all means”. The document also proposes to convene a national conference to outline the future of South Sudan, which is open to members of civil society because “sovereignty belongs to the people and not to individual leaders or political parties”.