Vatican News
(File) Some members of the South Sudan Council of Churches (File) Some members of the South Sudan Council of Churches 

South Sudan: Upsurge in violence could threaten peace

South Sudan’s church leaders say there is an increase in violence which could threaten the country’s fragile peace and gains so far made by the transitional Government of National unity.

English Africa Service – Vatican City

While political parties that form the transitional Government of National unity are respecting the ceasefire, new cases of violence in the country are a source of great concern. This week, the South Sudan Council of Churches, an ecumenical body, said it is worried by the escalation of violence in the country.

“We, the Church in South Sudan are deeply saddened by the escalation of violence in nearly all the States of our country. We strongly deplore the increased loss of lives and destruction of properties of populations already impoverished by conflicts in the country. God is watching us and will hold us accountable,” said the Church leaders.

They have urged South Sudanese to embrace peace and harmonious co-existence.

An absence of authority in some local governments

It would seem an absence of authority in some local governments is, in a way, driving and contributing to the violence.

Early, this month, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) also noted the upsurge in acts of violence. They blamed most of the violence on inter-communal clashes.

According to UNMISS, the violence is causing immense harm to civilians and risks pulling organised armed groups into conflicts that could unravel the peace agreement.

The UN Special Representative to South Sudan, David Shearer, said while fighting, in South Sudan, had significantly reduced as factions broadly respect the ceasefire, the scope and intensity of the current outbreak of intercommunal violence could threaten the fragile peace.

“Much of the lawlessness and seizing of resources by armed groups stems from an absence of authority because political parties have failed to agree on the appointment of governors and local authorities in the 10 states,” said David Shearer.

The UN called for compromise among South Sudan’s political parties so that appointments to positions could be made.

Implementation of provisions to the peace agreeement

South Sudan’s church leaders equally want politicians in the transitional Government of National Unity to honour the spirit and letter of all agreements and declarations.

“We call upon all our political leaders in (the) R-TGoNU and Opposition to be true to the Agreements and Declarations they have signed and ensure their full and timely implementations,” said the Church leaders.  

20 June 2020, 23:30