South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir, has called on churches to help his government disseminate Christmas messages of peace, reconciliation and forgiveness to overcome the violence in the country after more than two years of the civil war in the young state.
President Kiir, while addressing Christmas after attending prayer services at Saint Teresa Cathedral in Juba, on Sunday evening said in closely watched comments by members of his political rivals in Juba, that peace was one of the priorities in South Sudan.
“I have said it on many occasions, including in my recent address to parliament that it is time to prepare our people to work for peace and reconciliation. I asked them to welcome the members of the advanced [team] of the SPLM-IO [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition] even if you have lost something as a result of this war. We should try to forgive and reconcile” said Kiir in a message broadcast by the state-run South Sudan Television.
“The work of peace building and reconciliation requires all of us to work together. The advanced team of our brothers and sisters in the SPLM-IO has met with me and I assured them of the commitment of the government and my personal commitment to do whatever we can do to implement this peace agreement in order for us to return the country back to normal. They have come to stay. They will not return. Taban Deng Gai told me Riek Machar will join them” he said.
He appealed for support from the church to sensitize the people and disseminate peace messages.