(Above) Students participasting in a peace demonstration earlier in the year in Yei.
South Sudanese people and their political leaders should show remorse by preaching peace in order to end agony and further deaths. A priest said this at a time when the country was marking three years of civil war.
Fr. Zachariah Angutuwa, who is the Vicar General of Yei Catholic Diocese, cautioned South Sudanese as they prepare for Christmas and New Year 2017 celebrations, saying killings should stop.
He said it was shameful that there was fighting among South Sudanese, with Christians making up a majority of its population, which was causing deaths, displacements and suffering.
“In the community, we criticize one another, we don’t accept one another, we kill one another – are we prepared to celebrate this Christmas as Christ comes to our lives?” he said in a sermon at Christ the King Cathedral in Yei town.
He regretted that most bad things that are happening in the country are done by Christians.
“Do I witness Christ in my life as I give to other people? Do I sympathize when there are suffering people, death in my community?” he said.
South Sudan marked three years of civil war on December 15th, 2016, as its leaders in the transitional unity government struggle to implement the agreement on the resolution of conflict, despite reports of fighting in some parts of the country.
Fighting started in December 2013 between President Salva Kiir’s forces and those loyal to his former deputy Riek Machar in Juba.
More than one million people have fled as refugees. Meanwhile over 4 million are internally displaced by the fighting, according to the United Nations.
Fr. Zachariah said to have a peaceful and harmonious living, South Sudanese should acknowledge mistakes in both the mind and heart, give a way for healing and reconciliation.
“When we have done something wrong, let there be remorse in our hearts and in our minds to admit that ‘my brother, I hurt you. This gives us healing and then we live in this life as Christians and as a citizen of this country,” he said.
He advised leaders to imitate the example of Jesus as a good shepherd in leading the people of South Sudan, adding that leaders should not depend on human power but rather depend on God while serving His people.
President Kiir this week announced formation of a national dialogue committee led by eminent personalities, who will provide the road map for discussing issues of peace, reconciliation, unity and development.