On behalf of the World Council of Churches, I am writing to you to express our deep concern regarding the sudden eruption of violence in South Sudan this past night. It is with great shock that we heard the news of the attempted coup d’état in Juba that plunged innocent citizens in terror and fear of new conflicts.
We condemn and deplore such acts of violence, particularly for a young nation like South Sudan which is finally free from conflicts after many decades of hostilities and violence. This is by no means the time to reinitiate conflicts again. South Sudan should pursue peace and justice by all means and in all times, in collaboration with all parties concerned, and become a model for other nations in Africa and elsewhere.
We ask all parties to respect this advent season of Christmas which is important for South Sudanese, and urge you to give a chance for dialogue and restraint, forgiveness, as well as for peaceful political solutions to end this conflict, even in such difficult times when tensions are exacerbated.
The World Council of Churches also encourages churches to continue being a sanctuary and an accompanying presence for all those who are fleeing away from the violence, and are looking for safe shelters. We pray with you as you provide care to those innocent civilians wounded during the violence, including children.
This is a time to pursue peace. Inspired by the late Nelson Mandela, whom we both honored when we met in Johannesburg last week we know that it is possible to live together in a multi-cultural society. The people of South Sudan have suffered for several decades, and are now longing for peace and justice. We pray that the situation will quickly normalize and that peace will prevail again soon. As Your Excellency said when we met in Juba in April 2013; “after the independence of South Sudan, it is the churches that have the capability to bring people together and help rebuild the country.”
The ecumenical community is committed to continue accompanying the people of South Sudan in their struggle for justice and peace.
Yours in Christ's love,
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary