South Sudan bishop cautions leaders against coup attempt

Tuesday January 3 2017

Medics from aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) treat patients at a makeshift clinic at the Catholic Cathedral in the South Sudan's capital Juba on July 15, 2016 after days of fighting left hundreds dead and forced thousands to flee their homes. AFP PHOTO | PETER MARTELL

Medics from aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) treat patients at a makeshift clinic at the Catholic Cathedral in the South Sudan's capital Juba on July 15, 2016 after days of fighting left hundreds dead and forced thousands to flee their homes. AFP PHOTO | PETER MARTELL 

By JOSEPH ODUHA

A South Sudanese cleric has warned political leaders in the country against violent takeover of power.

The Catholic bishop, Santo Laku Pio, lamented that last year was associated with fear, rape, hatred, and lack of political will to implement the peace agreement.

The bishop made the remarks while celebrating the New Year mass at St Theresa Cathedral in the capital Juba.

He cited bad governance and misuse of resources for personal and political gain as key elements retarding the progress of peace and development in the war torn country.

“2016 was associated with bad governance. Our resources have been mismanaged. Our ethnicities have been used for personal and political gain,” he said.

He urged the political leaders across the country to embrace dialogue for the development of the nation.

The bishop further condemned the destruction of properties including food, deliberate killing, robbery, unnecessary use of force to displaced people and war propaganda by the parties to the conflict in the country.

“You can’t say I signed peace with reservation, reservation is lies. Peace is peace and nothing else,” he said.

He criticised both the government and opposition leaders who don’t want peace to prevail in South Sudan saying they wanted to continue looting the nation.

“It is true that there are people among us who don’t want peace. They want war and they are sons and daughters of violence.

“Don’t follow them. Don’t follow the violent people in our country. Make the violent people irrelevant in our community,” he told the congregation.

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Two years after seceding from Sudan, South Sudan plunged into a war on December 15, 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup. A peace agreement signed in August 2015 has since crumbled after fresh fighting erupted in July last year.