prayers are to set the stage for the much lauded national
dialogue initiated in December 2016 by President Kiir to
help reconcile and unite the warring factions in the
oil-rich and yet impoverished youngest nation.
has been beset with more than three years of violent
fighting since December 2013, after political dispute
between President Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar
led to killings of tens of thousands and displaced more
than 2 million from their homes.
agreement in 2015 to end the fighting was further weakened
in the aftermath of renewed July fighting last year that
led to the now exiled rebel leader Machar being replaced
as First Vice President by his former chief negotiator
Taban Deng in the transitional unity government.
expressed fears of ethnic cleansing leading to genocide
since conflict spread to once peaceful Equatoria region
amid reports of rapes, killings and hate speech.