News, Western Equatoria State

Churches push for Tombura peace conference

By Alex Digi

South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) committee is in Western Equatoria State as part of the consultation process before the Tombura Peace Conference.

The highly anticipated peace conference is in an effort to address the conflict between the two ethnicities, Azande and Balanda.

Tombura County in Western Equatoria State had witnessed inter-communal violence between two ethnic extractions that resulted in deaths of hundreds of people.

Thousands of others people were displaced and numerous property destroyed.

The Council of Churches has taken the initiative to confer with stakeholders in an effort to end the disagreement and establish a lasting peace in the area.

Speaking to reporters in Yambio town, one of the committee members, Rev. Fr. Martin Ochaya Lino, said they are to meet several teams for an inclusive dialogue to resolve the matters.

He said the conference would have taken place since, but due to other parties’ lack of readiness, they pushed it forward.

Fr. Martin, who is one of the committee’s focal persons, said the team has so far met with several leaders in the government, and the churches in Yambio.

He added that they were going to Tambura to meet the communities, including those who participated in the conflict.

After the conciliation, the Council of Churches will then set the date for the conference based on the information collected, if the ground is conducive.

“We had a very good discussion to explain why there was a little bit of a delay on the Tambura Peace Conference. We wanted to actually reach the people we did not reach so that no one was left out,” he said.

“And the Governor was very happy that we have taken up this process, and the government is willing to cooperate with us as much as local churches around,” Martin continued.

On Friday, the visiting SSCC committee met with the Bishop of Tombura-Yambio Catholic Diocese, Bishop Edwardo Hiboro Kussala.

Bishop Hiboro said the people of Tambura and Western Equatoria at large need to have peace, adding they will stand with the committee and support them in what they are doing.

After wrapping up its consultation mission in Yambio, the committee headed for Tombura yesterday, according to the team leader, Fr. Martin.

“According to our internal plan, we shall be traveling to Tombura to also consult with the people there because the target now is the peace conference,” Martin told the media before their departure.

“Once we have collected the voices of the people, we shall come down to design the final step for the peace conference to take place in Tombura,” he added.

Fr. Martin assured that they will bring peace and harmony to Tombura through their initiative in collaboration with the state government.

“One message I want to pass to the public is that the government and churches are willing to see that an end is brought to this conflict or misunderstanding so that eventually we shall have a peaceful people of Tombura because people have suffered so much.”

Meanwhile, the State Minister of Information, Mr. Isaac Mursal Timon said that, as a government, they were ready to support the conference so that peace prevails in the area.

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