AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Bishops to politicians: "Remember Pope Francis’ appeal for peace"

Tuesday, 5 November 2019 peace   bishops   pope francis  

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - "It is our hope that our political leaders, in South Sudan, both in government and opposition, most of whom are Christians, will keep in mind the appeal and the ‘extraordinary gesture’ of the Holy Father begging them to bring peace to their brethren in South Sudan", say the Bishops of Sudan and South Sudan, in their message read at the end of the Mass on 1 November in all the churches of South Sudan.
On April 11, at the conclusion of the spiritual retreat, at the Domus Sanctae Marthae in the Vatican, of the political leaders of South Sudan (see Fides, 9/4/2019), Pope Francis knelt before them launching an appeal for the future of the new State that was to be born on May 12, kissing the feet of the President of the Republic, Salva Kiir Mayardit, and the designated Vice-Presidents, including Riek Machar and Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior (see Fides, 12/4/2019).
However, the formation of the new government of national unity has been postponed several times: now the deadline is 12 November, but President Salva Kiir has hinted at the formation of an executive without the presence of Riek Machar. If this were the case, we strongly fear the resumption of a civil war, in a Country that is at a standstill due to the dramatic consequences of the conflict that broke out in December 2013, to which are added the damage caused by the floods that affected vast areas of South Sudan (see Fides, 29/10/2019).
In their message, the Bishops state: "We have seen the wounds and misery of our people in the IPD camps inside our countries and refugee camps in the neighboring countries. We feel and share the unbearable economic conditions of our people in Sudan and South Sudan".
In the document, sent to Agenzia Fides, it is emphasized that the roots of the conflict are to be found in the lust for power and wealth, which in turn uses ethnic and tribal divisions to push people to fight against each other. The Bishops conclude with an appeal to unity to cope together with adversity and share meagre resources in favor of all. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 5/11/2019)