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Christian leaders say violence in South Sudan is political, not ethnic

By on Thursday, 19 December 2013

An injured boy rests at a medical clinic inside the UN compound on the outskirts of Juba, South Sudan (CNS)

An injured boy rests at a medical clinic inside the UN compound on the outskirts of Juba, South Sudan (CNS)

South Sudan’s Christian leaders have reiterated their statement that recent violence in the capital was not a result of tribal conflict, but was politically motivated.

For two consecutive days, the leaders of the nation’s Christian churches issued a joint statement urging the government and political leaders to protect the nation’s citizens and to remain calm and not incite violence.

Their statements followed an announcement on December 16 by President Salva Kiir that the government had defended itself from attacks in the capital, including an attack on the headquarters of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army by soldiers allied to the former Vice President Riek Machar Teny.

In a statement two days later, the bishops condemned the clashes at the military barracks but also said they wanted to “condemn and correct the media statements and reports that refer to the violence as conflict between the Dinka and Nuer tribes.”

“These are political differences among the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement party, political leaders of the Republic of South Sudan,” the Church leaders said.

In a similar statement the previous day, the Church leaders urged reconciliation within the political party.

“The way this incident is handled will have an effect on the future of our nation, whether positive or negative, both internally and in terms of international relations,” the Church leaders said the statement which was read to media on their behalf by Catholic Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba.

Both statements appealed to the government to take control of the situation and protect its citizens. The Church leaders said soldiers are asking people to identify themselves by tribe, which was wrong because “we are all South Sudanese.”

“We condemn such acts of abuse and hope that no more human lives should be lost,” they said, without mentioning how many had been killed.

“Our citizens are running for refuge in UN compounds because they do not feel safe from their own security forces,” said the December 18 statement signed by Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Pentecostal and other Christian leaders.

They appealed to political leaders to avoid hate speech and to initiate dialogue. They also asked the international community to respond quickly to the growing humanitarian crisis of people fleeing the violence.

  • Abdul Mueed

    Everyone needs to know how the situation in Sudan is today! If you choose not to see or do you choose to do? It is you who decides. Hurry up before it’s too late! Hope is almost over and time is wasted when you just sit and roll your thumbs. Catholic Herald does a good job in addressing conflict in Southern Sudan. There are forces trying to suppress the freedom struggle. Hope to do and not just watching.

  • Guest

    “South Sudan’s Christian leaders have reiterated their statement that
    recent violence in the capital was not a result of tribal conflict, but
    was politically motivated.”

    ## What stops it being both ?

  • James M

    “Freedom struggle” could mean anything from “terrorist campaign causing many deaths of bystanders” to “massacre of the (more or less) innocent by brutal Government at the command of a totalitarian thug who is unfortunately the Man In Charge of the country affected”. If “the freedom struggle” is terrorist in its methods, God forbid any Christian should ever support it. That would be to do evil, or to co-operate that good may come – which is absolutely forbidden. If co-operation with abortion, however remote, is sinful (& the US bishops behave as though it is), co-operation with terrorism, however remote, must be equally a sin.

    As for this, from the article:

    “South Sudan’s Christian leaders have reiterated their statement that recent violence in the capital was not a result of tribal conflict, but was politically motivated.”

    ## What stops it being both ? And are they telling the truth ? Is there an independent, trustworthy, source of info on all this ? “Sudan’s Christian leaders” are too closely involved to be trustworthy – some group with no dog in this race, and a good reputation for honesty and trustworthiness, would be preferable: Aid to the Church in Need, say, or Doctors Without Frontiers.

  • Abdul Mueed

    Are you against our struggle or did I not understand you correctly?