Youth-led peace initiative gets underway in Yei

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[Yei, South Sudan, TCT] ‘Youth United for Peace’, a peace building initiative has been launched in South Sudan’s Yei to add into efforts of rebuilding peace in the war-torn country.

Yei Catholic clergy, parishioners, and local and state government officials, witnessed the official launch of the initiative, which will operate under the theme, “The Lord Will Gather all Nations in the Eternal Peace of the Kingdom of God”.

The new initiative, whose motto is ‘Together we Develop’, aims to change youth through comprehensive dialogue for a better society. It is led by Richard Taban George, acting Executive Director of St Augustine Family Organization (SAFO), a church-affiliated organization.

Taban asked young people to join them in order to “preach, announce, talk, work for and develop peace”, saying many youths are ignorantly involved in the conflict engulfing the country, notwithstanding the dangers they put themselves in.

Youth United for Peace initiative will conduct peace building workshops and advocacy on peace in times of crisis, he said. Taban said the initiative will target the youth, who are often involved or influenced by politicians to engage in violence.

“The causers of the conflict are not the youth, but the active participants and sustainers of the conflict are the youth,” he said.

The initiative started way back in 2012, and has been holding annual festivals, bringing together youth to display their skills and talents through dance, drama, and gospel music, in conformity with Christian values.

Yei River State Governor David Lokonga Moses said that the initiative had come at the right time when the state has witnessed mounting insecurity as armed opposition groups continue to fight government forces.

He announced that the state government is developing a concept paper to work with other local peace partners to speed up efforts on peace building.
He regretted that Yei town had become the laughing stock of many people because of war, yet it was previously known as ‘Small London’, because it was peaceful and stable.

Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe of Yei Catholic Diocese urged peace partners and government officials to put God first in their efforts to build peace in the country.
Extending his message to armed opposition groups and the government, he said

“any problem that is recognized and is true can be solved only through dialogue”.

He observed that insecurity had badly affected Yei town, prevented movements and made it difficult for people to conduct their daily business.

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