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African bishops have called for peace in South Sudan following a spate of violence that has killed thousands.
They spoke out as leaders of neighbouring countries Kenya and Ethopia arrived today in Juba, South Sudan's capital, in an attempt to halt the fighting.
Senior bishops in South Sudan have repeatedly called for an end to the cycle of revenge and suspicion that threatens the young nation's viability
At Midnight Mass, Bishop Santo Loku Pio Doggale, the auxiliary of Juba, condemned the "kingdom of violence" and a rejection of tribalism, according to a report in The Guardian.
The cathedral in Kator, Juba has been turned into a refugee camp taking in almost 7,000 people, including children, fleeing for their safety. The presence of such a large number of people is creating serious health problems, and there is a risk of a cholera outbreak.
The unrest erupted on 15 December and has been centred on the country's different tribes and ethnic groups. President Salvar Kiir, a Catholic, was present at Midnight Mass at the cathedral in Juba.
At least two bishops in Kenya used their Christmas homilies to call for peace in South Sudan.
The Archbishop of Nyeri, Peter Kairu urged special prayers for peace in the country while the Bishop of Bungoma, Norman King’oo Wambua, said intervention from neighbouring countries was needed in South Sudan in order to avoid civil war.