After the party, South Sudan prays for its future

South Sudan was feted by world leaders as it celebrated independence.

Juba: Volunteers cleared away the rubbish
and worshippers offered prayers for its future on Sunday, after
South Sudan was feted by world leaders as it celebrated
independence and began the tough task of nation building.

"It is a big, big job but we want to make our new capital
look beautiful," John Goi Deng, a youth mobilise said,
as he looked out at the thousands of paper flags and plastic
bottles that littered Juba`s Freedom Square, the site of
yesterday`s ceremony.

A handful of teenagers collected the rubbish across the
vast dirt field where foreign dignitaries and tens of
thousands of southerners witnessed the declaration of
independence and saw the new country`s flag raised.

"This is the beginning of building the country. You first
have to clean and then you can start to build." Deng said.
The challenges ahead are truly daunting for one of the
poorest countries on earth that was left in ruins after five
decades of devastating conflict between southern rebels and
successive Sudanese governments.

"Joy at independence is tempered by ongoing troubles in
the south and north alike," said Zach Vertin, Sudan analyst
with International Crisis Group, in a recent report.

"On the UN`s Human Development Index -- a measure of
overall quality of life and development -- Sudan currently
ranks 154th out of 169. South Sudan will start even closer to
the bottom," Vertin added, in the report that was co-authored
by Sudan expert Aly Verjee.

In addition to the chronic lack of even the most basic
infrastructure, the government of South Sudan has to tackle
the problem of violent conflict within its borders, which has
killed more than 1,800 people killed so far this year.

It also has to resolve some highly sensitive issues with
Khartoum that were not agreed on prior to independence.

At the Juba Christian Centre Pentecostal church, pastor
Marcelo Obwoma was preparing to preside over a special
thanksgiving service that he said the new country`s President
Salva Kiir would attend.

The large congregation expected meant the organisers were
forced to set up chairs on the grass outside.
"So many people are coming today as we are giving thanks
on this special day, the beginning of our independence,"
Obwoma said.

"We are praying for guidance for the government so that
the country remains peaceful and can grow," Obwoma said.

Bureau Report

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