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JUBA - 22 Oct 2015

S Sudan bishops: 'The time for war is over'

South Sudanese bishops headed by Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, Bishop Enock Tombe and Bishop Paride Taban announced yesterday that the time for war is over and urged everybody to take part in peace-building and the long process reconciliation.

Speaking on Wednesday at Home and Away business center during a news conference, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, chairperson of the national Committee for Healing, Peace and Reconciliation, said that the people of South Sudan have suffered a lot and there is no need for more delay.

The bishop said that it is the politicians within the SPLM divided based on their ethnicity that brought suffering to people of South Sudan. He stressed the church will always stand with the people of South Sudan, and spearhead the process of peace and reconciliation.

“We are appealing to both parties to implement the agreement, and also to civil society to own the agreement, as there can be no more delays,” reads a statement from the bishop.

Asked about the ceasefire violations, Bishop Deng responded, “Yes, we are hearing killing is there and... that killing will not stop until we reach those people who have not understand that peace is signed”.

Bishop Enock Tombe, head of the Episcopal church's Rajaf diocese and a former observer at the peace talks, said that fighting has continued in spite of the peace agreement because some people fear they are going to lose their positions.

“There are people who wanted to benefit from the war whether they are from inside or from the opposition (SPLM-IO) or even neighboring countries. People wanted to control the resources, they wanted to hold their position, and therefore, it is up to us including the church to mobilize people for peace,” said Tombe.

For his part, Bishop Paride Taban said, “Each one has to say 'I am wrong' and 'I am sorry'. We are afraid to say I am wrong and I am sorry. If we say this tomorrow peace will come in this country and all the guns will fall down. We don’t want to see guns in the country.”

Meanwhile, the head of the Commission for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation said that the body is ready to hand over its work to the Commission for Truth Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH), which is mandated by the new peace agreement to take over but has not yet been formed.

Bishop Daniel Deng said this would happen “as soon as the commission is in operation.”

“This will be done as part of the implementation of the agreement signed by the two parties, the Government and the SPLM-IO, according to chapter (V) in which CNHPR is required to transfer its files, records and documentation as soon as possible,” he said.

He went on to say that religious leaders would continue working for peace and reconciliation “in their various churches”. He also clarified that the CNHPR would continue working under the South Sudan Council of Churches even after the handover to the Truth Commission.