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ICC NOTE: There have been attacks in Southern Sudan recently, and some have speculated that it is driven by the Northern government and army.

South Sudan church leaders want agreement implementation to lead to secession


Catholic Information Service for Africa

NAIROBI , Kenya (CISA) – Two years after the signing of a peace agreement to end a 21-year-long civil war in Sudan , some church leaders in the south are urging eventual secession for their region, saying Khartoum has failed to make unity attractive.

“The north was supposed to make unity attractive through the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, but this has not happened. I can confirm that we [the south] will become autonomous,” Father Santino Maurino, deputy general secretary of the Sudan Catholic Bishop’s Regional Conference, told Ecumenical News International Jan. 11.

“We’ve been suffering. We did not go to war for nothing. We want to be autonomous to shape our development and progress,” the priest said.

Signed Jan. 9, 2005, between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, the agreement ended one of Africa’s longest and bloodiest conflicts, which pitted the mainly Christian and animist south against the Muslim north.

The agreement gave south Sudan a six-year period of administrative autonomy, after which the population can decide in a referendum about secession.

Salva Kiir, the president of south Sudan , clashed publicly Jan. 9 with the Sudan ‘s President Omar Bashir during the second anniversary celebration of the agreement in Juba , the south Sudanese capital. Kiir accused the central government of backing rebel groups in the south to frustrate the implementation of the agreement.

“We agree with Kiir. But there are also all kinds of problems, tribalism, nepotism, corruption and others which we cannot ignore,” said Father Maurino.