NAIROBI, Kenya -- The president of the U.S.-based Maryknoll Sisters urged leaders of the newly independent Republic of South Sudan to prioritize peacemaking and reconciliation within its national concerns.
Maryknoll Sister Janice McLaughlin also suggested that the fledgling country's leaders begin efforts to disarm and demobilization ex-combatants in South Sudan's militia.
Her recommendations came during an interview with Catholic News Service after she spent nearly three weeks in the country July 25 through Aug. 13 leading a series of workshops on conflict transformation.
The workshops were for nursing students, seminarians and radio broadcasters in both Diocese of Wau and the Archdiocese of Juba. She previously served as a missioner in Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
"It is critical to provide skills training and employment possibilities for former fighters so they have means of making a living and contributing to rebuilding the nation," Sister Janice said. "If they feel left out and have no way to support themselves, they can easily turn to crime or to extortion to survive."