Bishop Wandabula joins call for South Sudan ceasefire

United Methodist Bishop Daniel Wandabula has joined world leaders in calling for a ceasefire in Africa’s youngest nation, South Sudan, where violence has claimed at least 1,000 lives.

Wandabula, who leads the East Africa Episcopal Area, used his Christmas prayers to ask the former vice president of South Sudan, Riek Machar, and the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, to seek peaceful means to save South Sudan from breaking into civil war.

In a statement on Christmas Day, the bishop appealed to fighting groups in South Sudan to lay down weapons and engage in dialogue.

“I ask Christians to pray for South Sudan so that Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, enables talks within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to close the rift between President Salva Kiir and the splinter group of Dr. Machar, South Sudan’s former vice president,” he said.

Thomas Kemper, who leads the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries,said Dec. 20, “It is imperativethat all who have voice and power in the country make every effort to find a peaceful resolution and to avoid a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis. Please join me in praying for our brothers and sisters in South Sudan, our world’s newest nation.”

CNN reported Dec. 27 that an intergovernmental group of East Africa leadershad given the warring factions in South Sudan four days to end the fighting or they would take action.

Agence France Pressereported Dec. 28 that the government had agreed to a ceasefireas the United Nations moved additional troops into the area. But,USA Today reports indicated forces opposed to the government were mobilizingfor another battle.

Al Jazeera reported Dec. 28 that China also has urged an immediate ceasefireand deplored the deteriorating conditions in the two-year-old nation.

News media contact: Maggie Hillery, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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