By ACN International
Adapted by AB Griffin, ACN Canada
Politicians should do more to start a peace dialogue, said Edward Hiiboro Kussala, Bishop of the South Sudanese diocese of Tambura-Yambio, when speaking to the international Catholic pastoral charity “Aid to the Church in Need” (ACN). In his diocese, which is located in the border region, the population is forced to suffer attacks from rebels based in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
“They abduct children, burn down houses and kill people. Many people are fleeing into the towns. In my diocese there are many internal refugees,” Kussala reported.
The LRA, which was established in Uganda in1987 under the leadership of Joseph Kony and has since largely been driven out of Uganda, operates today primarily in the border areas of South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
To improve the security situation in the region soldiers of the Ugandan and South Sudanese armies, the American contingent and the African Union Force had been stationed there, Kussala said. “This military presence is not a solution. What’s more, the international community lacks the will to arrest the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Joseph Kony,” he complained.
Lobbying for Peace
“The politicians believe in the military, but all these efforts have been to no avail,” Kussala continued. The Church had an important role to play in the peace process because it was educating people in peace and reconciliation and was a “lobby” for peace. It often acted through diplomatic channels to further the cause of peace, the Bishop reported.
The majority of South Sudan’s population adhered primarily to Christian and animist religions before its independence from the mainly Islamic northern part of the country on 9 July, 2011. Between 1983 and 2005 a bloody civil war raged, claiming more than 2 million human lives and leaving many millions of people homeless.