South Sudan’s Interfaith Council Concerned about Rising Violence, Says Cause for Distress

Flag of South Sudan. Credit: Public Domain

Faith groups in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State have expressed concerns over the escalating violence in the region, a situation they say is causing a lot of distress among the people and called for an end to suffering.

In their letter dated Monday, July 19 and signed by leaders of the Inter-Faith Council for Peace Initiative, including the council chairperson, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of South Sudan’s Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio, the leaders broke the silence condemning the violence.

“We as the Church leaders will never be silent and go mute as our faithful people are subjected to violence, which (is) harming their every sense of life,” the faith leaders say.

They add, “We appeal to all South Sudan and particularly in Tombura County of Western Equatoria to stop the violence which is ongoing.”

“The continued and escalating violence in Western Equatoria state particularly in Tombura County is of grave concern,” the faith leaders say, and probe, “Where is the government of South Sudan at all levels when communities turn harmful weapons against one another. What is the hidden truth in this senseless violence?”


“The Interfaith Council for Peace Initiative and interchurch all in Western Equatoria urge those involved in violence to stop immediately,” they appeal.

The religious leaders note that a lot of harm is being inflicted on the “brothers and sisters” of those who are orchestrating and committing the various atrocities in the region.

They say, “It is our own sisters and brothers that we are harming, not the elites or political tricksters who live securely and are shielded from the violence and destruction…They are not affected; they do not suffer; we appeal to you, stop the violence for your own sake.”

Describing the headquarters of Western Equatoria State, where the fight erupted as “appalling”, the faith leaders blame the violence on the “rapid increase and expansion of the breakdown of law and order” in South Sudan.

They say, “What we witness is symptomatic of a number of factors that cannot be ignored. The country’s tragic history, endemic corruption, political infighting, moral decay, disregard for the law, and the unfavorable economic conditions exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic are among them.”

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“The burning, killing, gun violence, looting and destruction of property will not bring about change; it will deepen the crisis,” the leaders tell members of the two tribes in conflict, the Azande and the Balanda.

They add, “Violence always begets more violence. Violence causes immediate and long-term suffering to all and will not address the pertinent issues that we need to urgently address in this country.”

“We urge that politicians of all persuasions stop using this crisis to manipulate people by spewing irresponsible comments and incitements in the media,” say the leaders and caution, “You are not showing leadership by being politically expedient and this incitement must be condemned.”  

The intercommunal clash that broke out on last month, June 21, between the Azande and Balanda communities in Tombura County is so far escalating in Yambio town, the headquarters of South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State.