IGAD Holds Key To South Sudan Peace - Acholi Clerics

1680 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
Under the auspices of Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative - ARLPI, the clerics want IGAD and the international community to pile more pressure on parties in the conflict to peacefully negotiate their differences.

 Religious leaders in Northern Uganda say restoring peace in South Sudan largely depends on the actions of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development - IGAD.
 
Under the auspices of Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative - ARLPI, the clerics want IGAD and the international community to pile more pressure on parties in the conflict to peacefully negotiate their differences.
  
Gulu Archbishop John Baptist Odama, who is the chairperson of interfaith organization, says the international community and government of Uganda should continue rescuing foreigners trapped outside Juba.
  
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The clerics hailed the current ceasefire in South Sudan and said they are deeply saddened by the bloodshed in the world's youngest nation.
  
Retired Anglican Bishop of Gulu, Onono Onweng says the situation in South Sudan is affecting neighbouring countries in similar manners and it is incumbent upon affected countries to rise up and stop the war from escalating.
  
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Bishop Onono Onweng challenged the Inter-religious Council of Uganda and the inter-religious council in the Great Lakes region to lead the way in initiating mediation aimed at implementing the South Sudan peace accord agreed in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
  
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Retired Bishop of Kitgum Diocese Macleod Baker Ochola says the leaders of South Sudan should work towards demilitarizing South Sudan for true democracy to find its footing.
  
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The clerics say they are well placed to persuade both former Vice President Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir to talk after working with both leaders during Uganda's Juba peace talks in 2006.
  
The interfaith peace building and development organization founded in 1997 is largely credited for initiating peace talks between the government of Uganda and Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in South Sudan's capital Juba. Ironically, Riek Machar was chairperson of the talks.
  
Although Kony refused to sign the agreement, government of Uganda went ahead to implement the contents of the agreement. 

 

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.