Bishop: Kiir, Machar Accept Peace As An Easter Gift

President Kiir (left) and Rebel leader Dr Riek Machar. [Courtesy photos]

“This would be a great gift to South Sudan during this Easter time,” said Bishop Deng in his Easter Message to all South Sudanese including the leadership of the country. 

“When we look around our new country South Sudan, it is obvious that there is a thing which needs to be done. Since just before Christmas, we have been a fearful and divided nation.”

The armed internal conflict in South Sudan broke out just 10 days to Christmas and destroyed all plans for believers to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ following the alleged “coup” attempt by armed forces aligned to Dr. Machar.

“We did not celebrate Christmas as we should. There has been a lot of bloodshed and violence, much destruction and pain. As a country we are not well, we are not happy and we are not whole. It is obvious that we need healing,” the Bishop retorted 

Given the complexity of the conflict, the Bishop said a miracle will be needed to heal the wounds of the new nation. As a man of faith and a believer in miracles, Deng says:  “I believe that God can bring South Sudan the healing which it really needs. People in other countries are willing to offer us help and already President Kiir and Dr. Machar have begun to negotiate peace. This is not an easy process, it requires forgiveness.” 

According to the man of God, at Christmas, the country could not celebrate but reaching a peace agreement between government and the ant-government forces would give the citizens of the new nation an opportunity to celebrate Easter and Christmas together and allow the thousands of IDPs who remain in UN and other camps to go back to their homes before the heavy rains come in June and July. 

He also appealed to Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional bloc brokering a peace deal between the Juba government and forces aligned to Dr. Machar, to ensure that any peace deal is signed through the formation of a National Coalition Government which includes Salva Kiir, Rebel Leader Riek Machar and the political detainees which must be followed by the 2015 elections.

“I believe it needs to be ensured that free, fair and peaceful elections are conducted in 2015 as already scheduled. I want to urge the international community to support the peace process.  This is vitally important,” he appealed. 

Since December 2013 when the armed internal conflict broke out in Juba, thousands have been killed, a million more displaced as thousands more sought protection at UN facilities across South Sudan.

Peace talks have been on and off in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa though the process is rather too slow which according to the Bishop should be expedited.

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