Amidst Chanting and Ululation by South Sudanese during the Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Peace by the Holy Father, citizens were equally filled with grieve and vengeance following the brutal killing of nearly 20 in the Central Equatoria’s Kajo-keji payam of Yei County.
2nd February, nearly 20 people died after suspected cattle herders stormed the area and opened fire on civilians. The incident spilled grieves in the heart of citizens although the Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Peace a forehand cemented the ordeal.
The metropolitan Archbishop of Juba Archdiocese who was equally moved by the incident urged the government of South Sudan to apprehend the culprits who orchestrated the brutal killing.
“We send the message of sympathy and condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the diseased. We the Catholic Bishops ask the government of South Sudan to take serious steps to apprehend the killers and put them to law because no killing is justifiable.” says His Grace, Stephen Ameyu
“We are saddened when people are killed and people keep silent because the responsibility of security is on the government, the protection of the people is on the government so the government should be the first to come out and see what has happened” He adds
“Since 2017, the question of this friction between the cattle keepers and famers has been going until President made a decree for cattle keepers to take their cattle to their locality, but still there is no step taken” Archbishop Ameyu adds.
He also calls on the government to quickly respond to the ongoing conflict occurring at the border of South Sudan and Kenya. He suggests the cattle keepers are to be stationed in a specific place to avoid conflict across South Sudan.
“I know the visit of the Holy Father has an impact in community, at least in attitude, we hope that the community of South Sudan should change by the great historic event” he adds.
His Grace appeals to South Sudanese to change their attitude toward peace and reconciliation. On Sunday 04 February 2023 Pope Francis called for the laying down of weapons of hatred and take up that of prayer and charity.
the Holy Father during his three (3) days in South Sudan made the call in his homily to South Sudanese in at the Capital of Juba.
“Let us lay down the weapons of hatred and revenge, in order to take up those of prayer and charity.”
He appealed to South Sudanese to overcome hatreds pitting tribes and ethnic groups against each other.
“Let us overcome the dislikes that over time have become chronic and risk pitting tribes and ethnic groups against one another.”
He advised South Sudanese to learn how to apply the salt of forgiveness to their wounds.
“Let us learn to apply the salt of forgiveness to our wounds; salt burns but it also heals. Even if our hearts bleed for the wrongs we have suffered, let us refuse, once and for all, to repay evil with evil, and we will grow healthy within.”
He said, salt has been a symbol of wisdom and the people of South Sudan should be the salt that gives good test.
“Dear brothers and sisters, I pray that you will be salt that spreads, dissolves and seasons South Sudan with the fraternal taste of the Gospel.”
His Holiness quoted a reading from the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 5:13-14) describing how important is salt is to Human life.