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Catholic Bishops say there is no peace in Yei River

Authors: Joakino Francis | | Published: Friday, March 1, 2019

Bishop Erkolano Lado Tombe, Catholic Diocese of Yei and Archbishop Paolino Lukudo Loro, Metropolitan Archbishop of Juba addressing the press in Juba, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, Photo by Joakino Francis @eyeradio

Residents of Yei River are not enjoying the dividends of the new peace agreement as fighting rages on in the state, a church leader has said.

The accord is supposed to silence the guns, restore the dignity of the common man and boost economic recovery.

However, the clashes between NAS and the army have reportedly exacerbated suffering of the civilians in the state, with thousands fleeing their homes for the second time.

“This peace agreement has not reached Yei. It’s still travelling in order to reach Yei,” Erkolano Ladu, Bishop of Yei Catholic Diocese, said at a press conference in Juba Thursday.

“There is no peace in Yei right away now, especially from mid-December when we could see people beginning to be running about again and a lot of army vehicles going from Juba to Yei.”

Peace deal likely to collapse

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church has warned that the new peace deal is on the verge of collapse amid renewed fighting in Yei River State.

Parties are unable to implement the deal because, he says, they were forced to sign it.

“This agreement, we know, was prepared by the secretariat and brought and told ‘you sign here’. And they just signed and signed practically under threats,” Bishop Pio stressed.

Forces under General Thomas Cirilo who declined to ink the deal last year have reportedly been clashing with the army since mid-last month.

According to the UN, over 11,000 people have been displaced.

These are women and children who had just returned from refugee camps in neighboring Uganda after the signing of the accord in September.

Besides, the leader, who spoke on behalf of the South Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Forum, said the parties have not implemented most the provisions stipulated in the peace deal.

These include demilitarization of urban centers, cantonment of soldiers, and release of all political prisoners.

“We are behind schedule simply because the time frames were not mutually agreed by the parties, even those who signed the agreement,” he added.

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