The cardinal archbishop of Khartoum has called on political leaders in South Sudan to go beyond their own personal interests and resolve the current crisis in the fledgling nation.
Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir, currently on a visit to South Sudan’s capital Juba to attend a meeting of the bishops’ conference of Sudan and South Sudan, urged the South Sudanese to realize that we are all sons of God and must not kill, Fides news agency reports.
The clash between the two strong men of the ruling party (SPLM, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement), President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar, has taken on an ethnic dimension involving the two major tribes in the country: Dinka and Nuer.
Despite talks between representatives of the two rivals taking place in Ethiopia, the war continues.
Fighting is concentrated in Malakal, capital of the Upper Nile State (north-east).
On January 18, the army had regained control of Bor, the capital of Jonglei State (East) – an area where the country’s oil resources are concentrated. The city was at the center of the fighting that broke out on December 15. The other region involved is Unità whose capital is Bentiu.
Observers say the fear is that if fighting does not stop soon, South Sudan will sink into an even more bloody and destructive civil war, involving other armed and ethnic groups in the conflict.
The conflict has already taken on an international dimension: Ugandan troops have intervened on Kiir’s side while Kenya has sent its troops, ostensibly to protect their citizens who live and work in the country.