Politicians Laud Religious Leaders in South Sudanese State for Peace Initiatives

Members of the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC). Credit: SSCC

Politicians in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State have lauded initiatives that faith-based leaders have undertaken in the Central-East African nation to end conflict among local communities.

From August 23-26, the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) organized a “healing retreat and trust building” for politicians of the Azande and Balanda, two communities in conflict in Western Equatoria State.

In a Saturday, August 27 statement shared with ACI Africa, the politicians laud SSCC members for bringing political stakeholders together “to create a conducive environment for peace and for displaced persons to return to their homes.”

“We appreciate the role of the South Sudan Council of Churches and their support for peace efforts in bringing peace and reconciliation among the people of greater Tombura and South Sudan,” the politicians say in their collective statement following the meeting that brought together 24 participants.

In the statement, the faith leaders note that the consultative meeting and retreat is a good manifestation of the concern the SSCC members have for the people “who are suffering due to the conflict in the country.”


Since last year, the Azande and Balanda ethnic groups have been in conflict over borders and sharing of leadership positions in Western Equatoria State. The communal violence has reportedly resulted in the death of more than 200 people, and the displacement of some 80,000 persons.

In their August 27 statement, the South Sudanese politicians from the two warring communities express “sadness” for cases of violence recorded in the State.

They also condemn the tendency to demonstrate lack of respect for the “sanctity of human life” on the part of the parties in conflict. 

The politicians say the violent conflicts have has affected the “social cohesion and peaceful coexistence among our communities.”

“The conflict has led to the worsening security situation, breakdown of law and order, suffering and distress of people, senseless loss of lives and wealth, displacement of the people and the dire humanitarian situations,” they say.

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The politicians add, “We believe there will be no better Tombura in the absence of peace and we all need to work together for sustainable peace in the area and be ready to accept one another.”

They call upon the warring parties “to cease all violence and hostilities and to start restoring peace, coexistence and harmony in Tombura and beyond.”

On August 4, the leadership of the Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CODEP), the social wing of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio (CDTY), said it was spearheading dialogue and reconciliation among communities in conflict in the South Sudanese Diocese.

In an interview with ACI Africa, CODEP Director, Fr. Charles Mbikoyo, said the initiative that is aimed at re-establishing peace and trust among the people of God in the CDTY is being coordinated from CODEP office in the Deanery of Tombura.

“We are trying to prepare ground for dialogue and reconciliation that will bring the different communities together to have space for peace and to build confidence as well as giving them hope,” Fr. Mbikoyo said.


He added, “We are going to extend our coordination offices in the six Deaneries, and one of these deaneries is in Tombura. This coordination office will make our presence felt on the ground for peace activities.”

 In June last year, religious leaders serving in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State condemned “in the strongest terms possible” violence between members of the Azande and Balanda communities in Tombura County, a territory covered by the CDTY.

“It is very disheartening to see that the once peaceful communities are turning against each other,” the faith leaders said in their 24 June 2021 statement.