South Sudanese Bishop Calls for Government and International Community Collaboration
CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 08 August 2016
Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe of the Catholic diocese of Yei in South Sudan has called on the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) to reach out to the bodies representing the international community in resolving the nation’s challenges.
Addressing the faithful during holy mass at Christ the King Cathedral in Yei on Sunday, Bishop Tombe encouraged South Sudan political leadership to collaborate with bodies such as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU) in addressing the country’s protracted conflict.
According to a report by Easter Radio of the Catholic Radio Network (CRN), Bishop Tombe cautioned the international partners against the tendency to “force peace” but instead help “the nation in resolving the crisis” and giving “citizens hope for peace and safety.”
The Bishop’s appeal comes after reports from IGAD indicate that South Sudan leadership has finally accepted the deployment of a regional intervention force.
The Friday, August 5 report does not give the specific scope and mandate of the force to be deployed.
However, the regional force is expected to help implement the August 2015 peace deal, which fell apart in early July when forces of President Salva Kiir and those loyal to his then Vice President Riek Machar engaged each other in heavy fighting, which left hundreds dead and tens of thousands of civilians displaced.
Earlier, President Kiir had rejected the AU resolution during the 27th Summit in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, to deploy regional troops to his country.
“No. We will not accept even a single soldier,” President Kiir had been quoted as saying.
South Sudan already has a 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force.