SOUTH SUDAN: Church Leaders Call for Immediate End of Violence

JUBA JULY 12, 2016(CISA)-South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) has called on the top leadership in South Sudan to restrain their forces and stop violence from escalating further.

“We, the leaders of the Church in South Sudan, are extremely disturbed about the fatal shootings which occurred in Juba on the evenings of 7th and 8th July 2016 and the morning of 10th July. We make no judgement as to how or why they occurred, nor who is to blame, but we note with concern that there have been a number of incidents recently, and that tension is increasing,” the church leaders said in a statement.

“We condemn all acts of violence without exception. The time for carrying and using weapons has ended; now is the time to build a peaceful nation,” said the leaders.

The clerics further urged for “repentance and a firm commitment from all armed individuals, forces and communities, and from their leaders, to create an atmosphere where violence is not an option.”

“We are encouraged by the statements from both President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar calling for calm. We add our voices to theirs, and urge soldiers and civilians to refrain from provocative words and actions, and to do everything in their power to avoid escalating the situation.”

South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011 but its short history has been marred by years of civil war. The violence has been condemned by several states including The United States of America.

The White House warned that “anyone impeding efforts to end the fighting would be held fully accountable,” reported BBC News.

The fight in the five-year-old nation has left hundreds dead among them two Chinese UN peacekeepers and one South Sudanese UN worker. Human Rights Watch, an International Human rights organization based in New York has called on the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan.

In a statement, Akshaya Kumar, Deputy United Nations Director at Human Rights Watch, said “implementing an arms embargo could immediately ground South Sudanese attack helicopters and limit the ability of armed forces to target civilians.”

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