Female church workers massacred in South Sudan

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Anglican bishop of Bor, Ruben Akurdit Ngong told World Watch Monitor that most of the churches in the diocese have been destroyed. Photo: Jesse Zink
Anglican bishop of Bor, Ruben Akurdit Ngong told World Watch Monitor that most of the churches in the diocese have been destroyed. Photo: Jesse Zink

“Scores of female church workers were massacred last month as they sought refuge at a church in the central South Sudanese town of Bor,” according to a report from World Watch Monitor (WWM).

The women had taken refugee in St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church compound, but rebels broke in and raped several of them before shooting them at close range, the report said.

“The women were from different parishes in the diocese and had converged in the church compound when they were killed,” the Anglican bishop of Bor, Ruben Akurdit Ngong, told WWM by telephone from Bor. “This is very painful. They destroyed most of the churches in the diocese, but God is with us.”

According to the report, five of the women-Dorcas Abuol Bouny and Akut Mayem Yar, both 72, Tabitha Akuang, 60, and Mary Alek Akech and Martha Agok Mabior, both 70-worked as pastors in the church. A prominent lay leader, Agel Mabior, 72, was also killed.

Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, the primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, told local reporters: “They were all clergy. They all worked at the church. They did different jobs, [including] Bible reading,” the WWM story said.

According to a blog post from Nichole Sobecki, an Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondent reporting from Bor, the attack was a part of a larger massacre of an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 people in the area.

 

In January, the Anglican Church of Canada urged the Canadian government to issue a strong statement calling for “an immediate cessation of hostilities and an unconditional ceasefire” by all warring parties to the armed conflict.

A letter sent to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper from Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada; Adele Finney, executive director of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), and Andrea Mann, the national church’s global relations director, noted that, in the past, the Canadian government was a key player in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and contributed to the forging of a peace agreement between North and South Sudan.

“We therefore ask the Canadian government to use this experience, diplomatic clout, and expertise to achieve similar outcomes in the present conflict,” said the letter. “Such involvement would contribute to the prevention of human rights abuses and further mass atrocities in South Sudan.”

 

According to a Feb. 10 story from the United Nations News Centre, thousands of people are believed to have been killed and more than 870,000 others have fled their homes since fighting began on Dec. 15 between the forces of President Salva Kiir and deputy president Riek Machar. An estimated 75,000 of those have sought refuge at 10 UN bases within the country.

Anglican Communion News Service has posted the full story.

 

 

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