ADJUMANI. The Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese, His Grace John Baptist Odama has called for peace to return to South Sudan.
His appeal follows years of fighting between President Salvar Kiir’s government troupes and rebel groups loyal to the former Vice President, Dr Riek Machar which has left hundreds dead and millions displaced.
Speaking to lay Christian pilgrims who had gathered at the Holy Cross Indriani pilgrimage center in Adjumani district over the weekend, Odama urged South Sudanese to consider teaching their children the God’s message of peace and love for one another.
The Bishop said the refugees staying in settlement camps in Uganda should join the rest of the world in praying for peace to return to South Sudan especially at this material time when their leaders are in the process of signing a peace agreement.
He said Kiir and Machar are in the process of signing a peace agreement, adding that the greatest part of it is to have the agreement respected and implemented.
Odama prayed for the warring sides to honor peace agreements for the betterment of South Sudan and Uganda which he said has greatly been affected by the war.
He also appealed to Christians to join him in praying for the neighboring countries like Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Somalia to equally have peace so that Uganda remains peaceful.
Mr Baker Zachary, the cultural leader (Lopirigo) of the Palaro clan said he sympathizes with the situation South Sudan refugees are subjected to because of the war in their country but pledged to peacefully co-exist with them for all the time they will spend in Uganda and in particular Adjumani district.
He instead urged clerics to help in advocating for tree planting in the districts hosting refugees so as to replace the ones destroyed because of the coming of the refugees.
Bishop Sabino Ocan Odoki, the Bishop of Arua Catholic diocese said the diocese of Arua is hosting the biggest number of refugees in Uganda.
He said close to one million refugees mainly from South Sudan have settled in West Nile region and mainly in the areas under the diocese.
Odoki reaffirmed the Church’s support to the refugees as their leaders continue to pursue a lasting solution to the conflict in the youngest nation.