Salva Kiir calls for national prayers to end conflict
What you need to know:
- President Kiir appealed for huge turnout “on that day to pray, repent and forgive each other for the problems that we might have committed against one another for the last four years.”
- Meanwhile Pope Francis has said the Vatican is considering a visit to the war-torn South Sudan.
- The head of the Roman Catholic Church was invited by South Sudanese Anglican, Presbyterian and Catholic churches last year.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has announced a National Day of Prayer for peace and forgiveness and urged citizens to turn out in high numbers.
“As your leader and the Patron for the National Dialogue, I am obliged to release this public statement to inform all our citizens and friends about the planned National Day of Prayers that’s going to be held on March 10, 2017,” President Kiir said in a statement broadcast on the official (SSBC) TV and Radio and sent out to media houses on Wednesday.
The National Day of Prayer is an American tradition held every year when people of all faiths pray for their nation.
President Kiir said this event will be held in all the states' capitals as a preparation for the commencement of the processes of National Dialogue which the president announced in December 2016.
“Our time is now ripe to turn to God and ask Him for forgiveness and blessings. We have not been that prefect and we need to submit ourselves to the Almighty through prayer,” President Kiir said.
The president last year announced the National Dialogue that he said will be bottom-top approach – starting within the communities to the national level. He appointed a steering committee that will be sworn into office next week. However, his critics say the president should not be a patron to the process since he is a party to the violent conflict that has killed thousands of people and displaced at least two million others.
In his message, President Kiir appealed for huge turnout “on that day to pray, repent and forgive each other for the problems that we might have committed against one another for the last four years.”
Meanwhile Pope Francis has said the Vatican is considering a visit to the war-torn South Sudan.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church was invited by South Sudanese Anglican, Presbyterian and Catholic churches last year.
“We have to do it, because they – the three [Christian communities] – together desire peace, and they are working together for peace,” said Pope Francis, speaking during a visit to All Saints Anglican Church in Rome on Sunday.
South Sudan bishops from the three main churches also asked the Holy Father to come along with Justin Welby, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury.
The South Sudanese bishops said in a letter released at the weekend that the Pope is “praying for difficulties facing the people of the world’s youngest country.”
South Sudan entered the fourth year of war this year in a conflict that has displaced two million people from their homes and triggered a famine in two counties with a population of 100,000 people.