April 16, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan president, Salva Kiir has called for tolerance and acceptance, saying the nation belongs to all ethnic groups.
- President Salva Kiir addresses the nation from the State House on September 15, 2015, in Juba (Photo AFP/Charles Atiki Lomodong)
The president made these remarks on Good Friday, a day he said, signifies the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, redemption over condemnation and hope over despair.
He urged South Sudanese to accept one another, embrace peace, forgive, reconcile and live peacefully, reiterating his government’s determination to bring lasting peace in the country, through engagements with other stakeholders.
“As we celebrate yet another Easter, I urge all our citizens to live peacefully with one another and do their utmost to make this country a peaceful nation. Our people must accept themselves and appreciate the values of peaceful co-existence. It is in our collective interest to live in peace because without peace, no meaningful and sustainable development can take place,” said Kiir.
“The message of Easter is filled with themes of love, faith, sacrifice, dedication, commitment, fulfillment of prophecy, hope, expectation and victory, as espoused in the scriptures and the teaching and lifestyle of Jesus Christ,” he added.
In recent weeks, however, fighting has surged between armed forces loyal to South Sudan’s former First Vice President, Riek Machar and government troops, especially in the Eastern Equatoria state town of Pajok and in Wau, one of the nation’s newly-created states.
The United Nations mission in South Sudan urged the warring parties to silence guns and demonstrate responsibility as violence escalates.
The acting Special Representative of the U.N Secretary-General, Moustapha Soumaré, said the peacekeepers were pushing for access to the conflict areas in order to protect the innocent civilians.
According to the world body, intense fighting occurred on Friday between government troops and opposition forces in Raja, a town located in Lol, one of South Sudan’s controversially-created states.
Soumaré said the Easter period should symbolise reconciliation and rebirth of hope, calling on leaders from all sides to embrace peace.
“They must show restraint and demonstrate their responsibility to ensure the sanctity of life of all South Sudanese citizens,” he said in a statement issued Saturday.
The U.N has reportedly deployed in vital areas to protect civilians, despite the challenges they face. But Soumaré said there can be no military solution to the conflict, but only “through a political solution.”
“They must once and for all silence the guns, return to dialogue, reconcile their differences and bring the peace the South Sudanese people want and deserve,” he stressed.
In recent days, the U.N said, thousands of people have fled to neighbouring Uganda from Pajok, while 13,500 others were received at its mission’s protection of civilians’ sites in Wau after the clashes between the country’s main rival factions.
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