2014-05-14 17:23:31

Bishops ask for prayers to allow South Sudan cease-fire to take hold

May 14, 2014: Religious leaders, including a Catholic archbishop, called for prayers for peace while urging government and rebel forces in South Sudan to lay down their arms and allow a tenuous cease-fire to take effect. Fighting between forces loyal to South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, Kiir's former vice president, flared May 12, two days after the parties agreed to the cease-fire. The renewed clashes in the oil-producing Upper Nile state dashed hopes for a swift end to five months of violence that has claimed thousands of lives and forced more than 1 million people to flee the conflict. Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba was among several religious leaders who were present at the signing of the agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As the agreement was signed, Archbishop Luduku Loro offered prayers for peace and said that "all South Sudanese have been waiting for this day for the last five months." Since fighting erupted in December, thousands of people have died and as many as 1.2 million people have been forced to flee their homes, according to the United Nations.

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