JUBA, South Sudan- South Sudan's President, Salva Kiir, and his deputy, Wani Igga, have joined a campaign seeking to reunite and reconcile South Sudanese, torn apart by a five-year conflict.

Using prerecorded audio messages, aired on local radio stations, the leaders of the world's youngest nation are urging the people of South Sudan, to embrace forgiveness to pave the way for nationwide reconciliation.

The campaign, spearheaded by a local religious group, is using billboards and recorded voices, to share peace messages across South Sudan.

"As the president of the republic, I feel duty-bound to lead the people of South Sudan to forgive each other, even when forgiveness is being perceived as a weakness by those to whom they are forgiving," Kiir said.

"Indeed South Sudanese have brutally destroyed themselves - untold loss of lives, untold loss of property, and those who lost dear ones are definitely bitter. This reconciliation should be proceeded by forgiveness. You reconcile in order to forgive and open a new page," Igga said,in an audio message.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

The U. N. estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced, internally and externally. A peace deal signed in Aug, 2015, collapsed, following renewed violence in the capital, Juba, in July, 2016.

The conflict left many South Sudanese communities fractured along ethnic lines, prompting the United Nations to warn that, the east African nation risks descending into genocide, if the use of inflammatory rhetoric, ethnic polarisation and name calling by the warring factions do not end.

A new peace deal, signed in Sept, appears to be holding as fighting and targeted killings have reduced in recent months.

"All the people of South Sudan have to forgive one another for the wrongs we have committed against one another," he said.

"I always forgive, as I also ask to be forgiven, when I had wronged someone," the South Sudanese leader added.