South Sudanese on Friday held national prayers in Juba with President Salva Kiir appealing for reconciliation and forgiveness among the people.
As part of on-going national dialogue, Friday was declared a public holiday dedicated to prayers, Africa Review reports.
Markets across Juba were closed as foreign missions and NGOs were also asked to honour the day.
President Kiir admitted that the nation was experiencing severe suffering, but said it was time for the South Sudanese to pray and ask God for help.
Second Vice-President James Wani Igga said the National Prayer Day was for the people to acknowledge the suffering and ask for God’s intervention.
However, Information minister Michael Makuei had Thursday said the rebels would be excluded from the National Dialogue unless they laid down their guns.
“There is no way we can allow anyone who is fighting the government to be part of the dialogue,” Mr Makuei said.
Catholic bishops Paride Taban (Emeritus) and Paulino Lokudu Loro attended the prayers.
The Auxiliary Bishop of Juba Catholic Archdiocese Santo Laku Pio, did not attend.