Peace agreement collapsing in South Sudan, Bishops warn
Report by Hassan John
South Sudan’s Catholic Bishops have warned, on Thursday February 28, that the peace agreement signed in September 2018 is collapsing and “all the parties are involved either in active fighting or preparations for war.”
Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro, in a statement in the capital Juba, said though the level of the conflict has reduced, there are still hostilities and the agreements are not holding. “The value of human life and dignity is forgotten as human rights abuses continue with impunity, including murder, rape, widespread sexual violence, looting and the occupation of civilian land and property,” Archbishop Paulino stated.
Fr. Joseph Ukello, Juba-based Comboni missionary priest, speaking in Torit State, Monday 25 February, said the south Sudanese leaders must stop deceiving the people with “peace hidden under the table.” They sign a peace agreement and then “later go with guns behind others, (this) is not peace… This will not work. It needs peace that comes from the heart, love and services,” Ukello said. “We need real peace. We don’t need to be deceived. If there is no peace, tell us there is no peace,” He added.
“If there is real peace, the one that comes from Jesus Christ, then peace will come, guns will go silent, deceit will stop, development will come and roads will be repaired. If there is no peace, but just deceiving, then bad politics affects South Sudanese,” Ukello reiterated.
“It is just the problem of money and power,” he stressed.
The South Sudnese war broke out in December 2013, between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar, who wanted to overthrow Kiir and take over the government. The conflict soon became tribal as both leaders fell back on their ethnic line for support. Over 400,000 peopleare said to have been killed and millions have been forced to flee their homes.
The church in South Sudan has been mediating between the warring factions to bring peace to the young nation.