The representative of the Holy Father in Kenya and South Sudan has expressed concern about ongoing fighting in Sudan, which he said has resulted in “horror scenes”.
In an interview with ACI Africa on the sidelines of the Episcopal Consecration of the Local Ordinary of Kenya’s Nakuru Diocese, Bishop Cleophas Oseso Tuka, Archbishop Hubertus Maria van Megen warned that if the Sudan war is not halted in time, the violence would “spill over” to neighboring countries, including South Sudan.
“It is horror scenes that are happening there at the moment,” Archbishop van Megen told ACI Africa on May 6.
If the violence is not addressed quickly, “it will not only remain in Sudan”, the Vatican diplomat warned, adding, “It will spill over into South Sudan; that means we will have it at the borders of Kenya and Uganda.”
At least 528 people have reportedly been killed and 4,599 injured since the war erupted on April 15. Many more are thought to have died due to the disruption of critical services, including health care.
In his speech at the end of Bishop Oseso’s Consecration Mass, Archbishop van Megen acknowledged the efforts being undertaken by the international community to end the violence.
He faulted politicians from the two warring factions, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) under General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the paramilitary force under General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, for not being “really ready” to dialogue.
“The International Community is working very hard to get things back into place and up to now it hasn’t really worked because also the two parties involved are not really ready to listen to each other,” the Dutch-born Vatican Diplomat who started his service as Apostolic Nuncio in Sudan in March 2014 said.
He added, “That war in Khartoum is happening because two political leaders cannot agree with one another and the whole population has to suffer because of it.”
“Politics is a question of give and take. You negotiate, you sit around the table, but if you go into your own bastions and start to throw stones at each other, sooner or later you will hit somebody on the head and then it doesn't work anymore,” Archbishop van Megen said.
He also said that the violence in Sudan ought to act as a warning for Kenya where there are rising political tensions and “a lot of accusations” and counter-accusations as well as “suspicion”.
The representative of the Holy Father in Kenya and South Sudan urged Kenyan politicians “to sit around the table and come up with solutions for the good of the country, for every Kenyan from whatever tribe or language he might speak.”