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“Let dove of peace return to Sudan”: South Sudanese Catholic Bishop in Solidarity Message

Credit: Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio (CDTY)

There is need for peace in Sudan, a South Sudanese Catholic Bishop has said in a solidarity message in which he implores that “the dove of peace” returns to the Northeast African nation following a coup by the military earlier this week.

On October 25, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan who was at the helm of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, the country’s power-sharing ruling entity, announced the dissolution of the Council and civilian rule, the detention of political leaders, and called a state of emergency across the country.

In his “solidarity message of courage and hope to the beloved people of God in the Sudan” on Thursday, October 28, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala challenges Sudanese to “pray and fast for reconciliation as the nation is locked in hopelessness and despair through the coup.” 

“Let the dove of peace return to Sudan. Let this nation rise up to be a new Sudan of peace and prosperity to all. Let the rainbow of peace and reconciliation rise again,” Bishop Hiiboro says in his solidarity message published by Ruru Gene newsletter of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio (CDTY).

He further says, “We have been saddened by the event which has befallen you during these last days, where armed confrontations with civilians have erupted in the Capital of the Sudan, Khartoum. This is not good news for us neither for you or any peace lovers.”

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“We also add our voices to the many voices which have asked the military to restrain from using violence to harm its own innocent people. In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. Anger should never lead a people but work for peace and reconciliation,” he says.

The South Sudanese Bishop who has been at the helm of the CDTY since his episcopal ordination in June 2008 further expresses his solidarity with the people of God in Sudan saying, “We stand by you all during this tempting moment. We pray and weep with you, above all praying with you for peaceful resolution of this current problem.”

The South Sudanese Bishop underscores the need to pray and fast saying, “This is a time for prayer. This is a time for fasting. This is a time for conversion for all in this country.”

“The Sudanese are true and faithful believers, Muslims or Christians alike; you must not forget that prayer is an effective weapon for forgiveness and reconciliation,” the Local Ordinary of CDTY has been quoted as saying. 

In a conflict such as this, the Catholic Church leader says, “believers must turn to God, by using the spiritual resources available to them! All roads in this way lead to Peace who is God Himself. The Holy Book of the Qur'an forbids aggressive warfare.”

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“As Christians too, we must return always to the sources of our faith to be reminded of God’s presence with us, even when experiencing despicable assaults on the sanctity of life,” he adds, echoing the sentiments of Bishop Yunan Tombe Trille of Sudan’s El Obeid Diocese who, in an interview with ACI Africa, appealed that the military in Sudan show respect and value for human life.

On October 27, the military reportedly sacked six ambassadors and tightened their crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, even as international pressure against the October 25 coup grows.

Soldiers reportedly opened fire on crowds and killed 10 people.

The African Union (AU), World Bank and other international bodies have announced punitive measures on Sudan over what has been described as "unconstitutional" seizure of power.

Bishop Tombe Trille of Sudan’s El Obeid Diocese has called on the international community to put pressure on the military in Sudan to ensure human lives are respected and saved.

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The military coup that took place on October 25 is a retrogression that brings Sudan “back to the military junta rule,” Bishop Tombe Trille who also serves as the President of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC) told ACI Africa October 26.

“We hear of the death of the people who express their feelings towards the coup against civilian governments…The international community should put their pressure on the junta to value the life of their citizens,” the Sudanese Catholic Bishop said.

The UK-based human rights foundation Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) also appealed to the international community to intervene in the Sudanese instability and to support the country that is struggling to build a transitional government.