AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - The Bishops: "We are not for or against anyone, but we are for the good of all"

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - "The Church is not against the government", said His Exc. Mgr. Erkolano Lodu Tombe, Bishop of Yei, in south Sudan, who reiterated the commitment of Catholic Bishops in providing support to the government through peace initiatives.
The local Bishops' Conference has recently denounced the war crimes committed by government military and other armed groups against civilians. "Despite appeals to all parties to stop the war, killings, rapes, forced displacement, attacks on churches and destruction of property continue throughout the Country", say the Bishops of South Sudan in their pastoral message entitled "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness"(see Fides 24/02/2017).
The civil war between government forces and rebels has now been transformed into a series of ethnic conflicts that have devastated the Country, causing a serious humanitarian crisis.
"Our country is gripped by a humanitarian crisis – famine, insecurity and economic hardship. Our people are struggling simply to survive", underline the Bishops.
"There is no doubt that this famine is man-made, due to insecurity and poor economic management". Hunger, in turn, creates insecurity, in a vicious circle in which "the hungry man, especially if he has a gun, may resort to looting to feed himself and his family".
In their message, the Bishops stressed that "the Church is not for or against anyone, neither the government nor the opposition. We are for all good things - peace, justice, love, forgiveness, reconciliation, dialogue, the rule of law, good governance - and against evil - violence, killing, rape, torture, looting, corruption, arbitrary detention, tribalism, discrimination, oppression – regardless of where they are and who is practising them". "We are ready to dialogue with and between the government and the opposition at any time", the Bishops conclude. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 01/03/2017)