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TORIT - 3 Mar 2019

Government, SPLM-IO seek forgiveness for war crimes

The main warring factions in South Sudan on Wednesday urged citizens to forgive them for all crimes committed during the more than five year civil war.

Officials from both government and armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) were speaking at a conflict and trustt building engagement workshop organized by the United Nations Mission (UMISS) in Torit State.

Members of the two parties agreed to live as brothers and sisters.

The SPLA-IO sector commander for Eastern Equatoria, Major Gen. Benjamin John Baptista vowed to avoid a repeat of past incidences.

He acknowledged that many people, especially women and children were killed during the conflict in the country.

A recent report published by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine showed that estimated at least 382,900 people died as a result of the conflict in South Sudan.

The South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) sector commander for Torit, Major General Robert Ewot Okimo urged the parties to embrace the spirit of togetherness for durable peace.

He urged open discussions on the peace implementation process. “We are all southerners, brothers and sisters. I would like to welcome all the SSPDF forces and the SPLA-IO generals who are here. Let us have open discussions with open hearts,” said Okimo.

He called for the respect of women and children rights in the country.

Meanwhile, the retired Bishop of Torit Catholic Diocese, Emeritus Paride Taban urged the parties to be victorious, not victims.

Every test, he said, makes a South Sudanese bitter or better in life.

“If you are right, then you need not get angry and if you are wrong, then you don’t have any right to get angry. Patience with others is love, patience with oneself is respect, leave this moment with a smile, it leaves you in cheers. Every test in our life makes us bitter or better, every problem breaks us or makes us,” said Taban.

“The choice is ours, either we become victims or victorious. Beautiful things are not good, but they are always beautiful,” he added.

In September last year, South Sudanese arch-foes signed a revitalized peace agreement, aimed at ending the devastating civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.