First Vice President visits Yei, reassures peace efforts

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South Sudan’s First Vice President Taban Deng Gai has visited Yei, and assured residents of the unity government’s commitment to bring peace.
Yei, a town located 170 kilometers Southwest of Juba, has witnessed several clashes between government and armed opposition forces since fresh fighting broke out in July last year in Juba.
In his address to thousands of residents gathered at Yei Freedom square, General Taban said the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) is alive and is implementing the peace agreement on the resolution of conflict in the country.
He urged citizens to support political leaders in the unity government in their efforts to bring lasting peace and stability in the war-torn nation.
“We have a government working in Juba, your legislature is working,” he told those present, including top national, state and local government officials, as well as citizens, traditional chiefs, women, youth and religious leaders.
The First Vice president was accompanied by top national government ministers including Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro, Presidential cabinet affairs minister, Richard K Mulla, federal affairs minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk, minister of defense and veteran affairs. among others.
David Lokonga Moses, governor of Yei River State and his cabinet welcomed General Taban and the national government officials. General Taban’s three-day visit to Yei featured public rallies on Saturday, meeting youth, women, elders and chiefs on Sunday, and a meeting with religious leaders on Monday.
He reiterated that President Salva Kiir’s national dialogue initiative announced recently would be practiced at all levels in order to restore peace and stability, usher forgiveness, reconciliation, and forge ways for national reconstruction.
“The national dialogue will go on in bomas, payams, counties, then states and after that a national dialogue for the whole country so that we discuss our issues,” he said.
The First Vice president said cantoning those in armed opposition, training and integrating them into the government would ward off complains that Equatorians aren’t many in the army or other levels of the government.
General Taban called on the citizens to convince their relatives in the armed opposition to join the cantonment sites, explaining that once cantoned, they would be organized and trained to serve in the army, police and the security forces.
“This is the chance now. Go to cantonment so that you are trained,” he said, while reaching out to the armed opposition.
He urged Church leaders to support the Transitional government in its efforts to dialogue with armed opposition. He acknowledged that the church plays a very important role in peace making.
He said South Sudanese people should start embracing forgiveness and reconciliation at all levels to achieve peace in the new year.
“We need 2017 to be a year of peace. So start with forgiveness right from your family. If there is anyone who has wronged you, say brother or sister, I have forgiven you,” he said.
General Taban replaced Dr. Riek Machar in the Transitional Government of National unity (TGoNU) in July last year after Machar fled, after fresh clashes erupted betwen his forces and those under President Kiir.

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