Archbishop of Canterbury condemns attacks on Christian aid workers

Violence engulfed the newly created nation in December

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The Independent Online

The Archbishop of Canterbury condemned the death of Christians in South Sudan during his visit with the country’s president in Juba yesterday.

Speaking to the press after meeting with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, part of a four-nations African tour, Archbishop Justin Welby stated: "There must be no impunity."

Last week government and rebel leaders signed a ceasefire – the first step towards possible peace after weeks of violence in which more than 1,000 people have been killed and thousands forced to flee their homes.

The conflict has seen waves of brutal revenge attacks, as a loose coalition of army defectors and ethnic militia nominally headed by sacked vice president Riek Machar terrorised the newly created nation.

The leader of the Anglican faith said: "I’ve heard particularly bad news of attacks on people, Christian people, working as Christians in hospitals and that is of great, great concern."

Aid workers have repeatedly reported horrific atrocities committed by both sides in the conflict.

"What is important is that over time through the agency of the people involved in the cessation of hostilities the facts are established in a way no one can deny, and we understand fully and lessons are learnt," Archbishop Welby stated.

He continued: "Conflict reconciliation is done by the people locally. Outsiders do not understand enough but what we can do, and promise to do, is accompany and support those like His Grace who are leading the reconciliation locally."

Although both sides implemented the ceasefire, reports indicate fighting has only eased, not ending entirely.