Sudan: Christians pray and fast for end to violence by LRA rebels

Christians in violence-hit Western Equatoria State conducted three days of fasting and prayer for peace in the region last week.

Western Equatoria has been the scene of many barbaric atrocities by the Ugandan rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The rebels have spread havoc in the state with killings, abductions, stealing and destruction of property and displaced hundreds of thousands in Southern Sudan, DR Congo and Republic of Central Africa.

Churches in Western Equatoria State, desperate for peace and aware the incapacity of the authorities, organized the prayers and fasting starting Sunday. The exercise concluded with a rally for peace in Yambio, the state capital.

Catholic Bishop Edward Hiiboro Kussula of Tombura-Yambio diocese told Sudan Catholic Radio News on the telephone that the event was a success.

“We believe that for us to talk about peace first we have to calm ourselves; we have to understand ourselves”, he added.

Bishop Hiiboro said the prayer and fasting was an occasion for self renewal and a change of attitude to a culture of peace.

Hundreds of Christians took part in a 20 kilometre march for peace from Nzara to Yambio, led by Bishop Hiiboro and by Bishop Peter Munde of the Episcopal Church of Sudan.

Bishop Hiiboro said the churches took this initiative because the situation was getting out of hand with the LRA attacks in Western Equatoria.

He added the LRA has displaced hundreds of thousands who took refuge in Meridi, Yambio, Nzara and Tombora towns generating a big humanitarian crisis.

“People are sad, people are angry; there is a lot of fear and nobody wants to go home. We have to put courage in people. We have to turn to God, to love him and to discover ourselves in the light of God’s teaching. For the people to live as a family, they should be united to fight off these things”, the bishop of Yambio said.

Sr  Giovanna Calabria, superior of the Comboni Sisters in Nzara who attended concluding rally in Yambio, said that it was a very moving experience seeing everybody barefooted and wearing dirty old cloths as a sign of penance, asking for forgiveness and peace with tears and songs.

The Governor of Western Equatoria, Jemma Nunu Kumba, took part in the event, together with other officials and a delegation from Juba. The representatives from Juba promised to bring the issue of insecurity in Western Equatoria to the attention of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly.

Source:  CISA