, 07 January, 2020 / 12:31 AM
As the combined armed forces of Government and Opposition group kick-start military training as envisaged in the September 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), the Archbishop-elect of South Sudan’s Juba Archdiocese, Stephen Ameyu has called on South Sudanese soldiers to put the past behind and invest in peaceful co-existence through reconciliation.
“You should forget the past and let’s go in for reconciliation,” Archbishop-elect Ameyu told soldiers during the launch of the transportation of forces to the Owinykibul Training Centre in East Equatoria in the world’s newest nation.
“What separates us is that everyone wants to eat alone but from today we need to know that this country belongs to all of us,” the South Sudanese Prelate appealed while addressing forces at assembling point of Ibalany residential area in Torit Saturday, January 4.
“All of you are our soldiers; we need you to stand in front of us as people who defend the country,” Archbishop-elect who has been the Local Ordinary of Torit diocese since March 2019 told the army men and added, “If you put this poor person first, even God will be happy with you.”
Last December, President Salva Kiir and Vice-President designate Dr. Riek Machar agreed to intensify efforts to implement the outstanding pre-transitional tasks and pledged to form a unity government in February.
The rivals, who inked a peace deal in September 2018 under pressure from the United Nations, the United States and regional bloc IGAD have previously postponed two deadlines to form the unity government, first in May 2019 as envisaged in R-ARCSS and then in November.
The South Sudanese Prelate whose December 12 transfer to Juba Archdiocese was followed by protests with the Conference of Bishops supporting the Papal decision also called on his compatriots to unite and work for peace and development in the country.
“We need to unite together as we go for a new chapter in our country, not the country of chaos and I wish you all the best as you travel for your training,” he told the soldiers.
On the same occasion, the Governor of Torit state urged the forces to stay away from politics and inject efforts in protecting citizens and their properties.
“There is no politics in the military, politicians who want to join will come to us but soldiers are defenders of the country and this is your role,” Governor Tobiol Alberio Oromo told the army men and emphasized, “We need your services, if you have accepted to be a soldier; we need you to defend us,” he said.
According to the Area Joint Military Ceasefire Committee, the 8,786 soldiers of Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) and South Sudan’s Opposition Alliance were drawn from the cantonments of Nation’s region of Eastern Equatoria.
Instructors were deployed in the training centres as part of the ongoing efforts to establish a unified national army, by the end of December 2019, reliefweb has reported.
The military personnel will be trained in Maple while policemen, prison officers and fire brigade personnel will be based at the Masanu Beera training centre on the outskirts of Wau, a city in northwestern South Sudan. The troops are coming mainly from the Ngo Halima and Grinity cantonment sites.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa