News / Africa

S. Sudan Marks Two Years of Freedom with Prayer

  • South Sudan held a national day of prayer as part of celebrations to mark two years of independence.
  • South Sudanese turned out to pray for the world's newest nation on a national day of prayer, held as part of celebrations to mark two years of independence.
  • South Sudanese women pray on the country's national day of prayer, which was held ahead of celebrations of two years of independence on July 9, 2013.

South Sudanese Mark Two Years of Independence with Prayer

Andrew Green
Thousands of South Sudanese gathered in stadiums across the country to pray for the world's newest nation ahead of celebrations on Tuesday to mark two years of independence, and to try to heal the still painful wounds left by decades of war.

“Today is a good day for us as South Sudanese because it is a day for reconciliation and peace.  We enjoyed these prayers, because they gather all the churches, all the government officials, all the communities," said Jenty Bangafu, one of hundreds of people who sang hymns and danced in Yambio’s Gbudue Stadium during a prayer ceremony on Monday.

The event in Yambio was part of a national day of prayer, organized by South Sudan's  Committee of National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation. The committee was set up by President Salva Kiir to promote forgiveness and try to end rebellions and the outbreaks of violence that still plague the country, such as deadly cattle raids.

In Eastern Equatoria, the day of prayer was turned into a week of prayer. Torit's Episcopal Bishop Bernard Oringa Bamloi said the national day of prayer was a good first step in the healing process, but warned that South Sudan still has a long way to go.

In Juba, where the main prayer event was held, Joshua Peter Aggrey arrived at the stadium hours early. A Muslim, he said he came to the prayer ceremony to show the country’s leaders that all denominations support reconciliation efforts.

“As Southern Sudanese, we respect our leaders and we listen to them. We pray that God may lead them in a way that this nation shall be successful,” he said.

The national day of prayer was a first step in efforts to address violence that has flared in South Sudan in  the past two years, said Episcopal Church of Sudan Pastor Emmanuel Natanie, a member of the national reconciliation committee.

“If we pray as a church, then we are sure that God will penetrate our communities and soften the hearts of people as we begin the process of healing and reconciliation of our republic. Something good will come,” he said.

The reconciliation committee is due to visit communities around South Sudan to gather feedback on what the government should do to promote peace and reconciliation in the country, Natanie said.

South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly in a referendum in January 2011 to break away from Sudan, and on July 9 of that year became the world's newest nation.

The referendum was a key condition of the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement that ended more than two decades of civil war in Sudan.
Mugume Davis Rwakaringi, Gift Friday and Yasolo Oketa James contributed to this report.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid