“Do your work with honor, integrity”: Archbishop to South Sudan’s First Unified Troops

The first batch of the unified armed forces. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Catholic Archbishop of Juba in South Sudan has called upon the thousands of troops constituting the first batch of the unified armed forces from previous rival groups to graduate in the East-Central African nation to serve the military “with honor and integrity”.

On Tuesday, August 30, South Sudan graduated over 21,000 new troops that are to constitute a unified national army, police, and other forces of security as part of the implementation of the country’s September 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

Speaking during the graduation ceremony that took place at Dr. John Garang Mausoleum in Juba, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin said the first batch of unified forces need to do their work to protect people of South Sudan.

We pray that they do their work with honor and integrity,” Archbishop Ameyu said during the August 30 event that was presided over by the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir.

The South Sudanese Archbishop added, “I pray to God to give them wisdom so that they might revive in their hearts, the Christian sense of forgiveness, peace and reconciliation.”


He further urged the members of the unified forces to "sacrifice in love for the nation to protect people and properties.”

The Local Ordinary of Juba Archdiocese who doubles as the Apostolic Administrator of Torit Diocese further implored that God keeps “them safe and protected during their respective missions.”

“This uplifting prayer for our military and veterans is the perfect source of inspiration to courage and service to the nation,” the 58-year-old Catholic Church leader said.

The 21,973 security agents who graduated on August 30 included 3,308 VIP protection forces, 4,366 police forces, 6,315 national security services, 1,120 prison services, 3,575 wildlife services, and 3,289 civil defense forces.

According to the September 2018 R-ARCSS, South Sudan is supposed to train and graduate a unified force of 83,000 personnel to take charge of security during the transitional period until 2023 when elections are to be held.

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In his address during the August 30 graduation ceremony, Archbishop Ameyu prayed for “true love for the nation” for members of the unified forces.

“To the veterans we pray that you can satisfy our every desire and need when we are demobilized,” the South Sudanese Archbishop further implored, and added, “We thank you Lord for our veterans who made great sacrifices on our behalf, we ask that you will bless them and all their needs.” 

Archbishop Ameyu implored that God gives military veterans “peace when they suffer from past traumatic events.”

On his part, President Kiir cautioned members of the unified forces against affiliation to the country’s political parties of ethnic groups that take the form of tribe.

“It is your duty to treat all South Sudanese equally, in justice and equality. Those who will be found to discriminate against some of our people, will be dismissed and face the full force of the law,” the South Sudanese President said during the August 30 graduation event. 


He added, “The army is there to defend South Sudan from external aggression; the National Security is to collect intelligence to ensure that there is no danger against South Sudan”.

Patrick Juma Wani is a South Sudanese journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. Patrick holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from Makerere Institute for Social Development (MISD) in Uganda. He has over 7 years of extensive experience in leading the development and implementation of media, advocacy, communication and multimedia strategy and operations, with an excellent track record of editorial leadership, budget management, and stakeholder outreach. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.