President Salva Kiir on Sunday condemned the burning of a South Sudanese flag at a Catholic Church in the capital Juba, calling it a “very bad” act.

Speaking at the St. Teresa Cathedral in Juba, Kiir said: “The day I left for China I heard that this flag, the flag of South Sudan, was burned. I don’t know whether it was burned inside the church or taken outside the church to be burned there, I don’t know but this is what I heard from China.”

“But I don’t want to dwell on that. I just want to say the flag in front of us here is not my flag and it is not James Wani’s flag, it is your own symbol. It is your pride because you are now people having sovereignty,” he added.

The South Sudanese leader denounced the flag-burning incident inside the Catholic Church in Juba over the past two weeks, pointing out that the perpetrators have not been arrested.

“If there are people who do not like it, then it is better they do other things, but not the flag.  And for this thing to happen in a Catholic Church is really very bad,” he said.

“There is no problem. Let’s take it easy even if I get the person who burned it, there is nothing I would do to that person. I would not punish him or her for what he or she has done, but I will leave that person to fight with his or her own conscience that why did he or she do it,” he added.

“This is the symbol of the nation and you know how many people died, inside Juba here how many died? The leaders of this country, most of them died to get the flag.”

The administration of the Catholic Archdiocese of Juba has recently condemned the burning of the flag and the cloths covering the seat of Archbishop in St Theresa’s Cathedral Kator.

In a communication note issued on September 1, Secretary-General of the Archdiocese, Fr Samuel Abe Joseph, said an altar boy of Kator reported on August 27 that the two clothes were burned in the Cathedral.

The administration said it reported the case to the police.