Ginaba Lino

South Sudan Catholic Bishops’ in their Pastoral meeting which was held on 14 and 15 September demanded the government for the killers of Sisters. Mary Daniel Abbud and Regina Roba to be identified and held to account.

In the statement which was read by the Archbishop of Juba Archdiocese and the Chairperson of South Sudan Bishops’ Secretariat Most Rev. Stephen Ameyu Martin said that they reject the language of ‘Unknown Gunmen’.

“We reject the language of Unknown Gunmen because the local community usually knows who the killers are but they are allowed to escape with impunity. We reject attempts to use this tragedy to derail the peace process.

The Bishops are outraged at the attacks on the church and its personnel, particularly the shooting of Bishop-elect Christian Carlassare in Rumbek and recall for forgiveness and reconciliation for the acts.

They urge the government of South Sudan to review her duty of providing security for the citizens of South Sudan.

“Our country is supposedly at peace, yet many of our citizens face violence on daily basis. At this very moment people are being killed and displaced around Tombura and the rest of Western Equatoria. Elsewhere, people are still living in fear in UN POC camps. We remind the government of her duty to provide security to the population. We also urge them not simply to create more violence using the security apparatus”.

We are concerned about the disregard for human life in our nation, people are dying, whether by violence or by neglect, and it seems to be just accepted. We insist that all human life is sacred. The culture of death must be converted to a culture of life where every human being is valued,” they said.

The Bishops’ revealed that they were moved by the Holy Father’s unexpected gesture of kissing the feet of the political leaders but they noted with sadness that they (the political leaders themselves) have not been sufficiently moved by his humble example.

“We were deeply moved by the Holy Father’s unexpected gesture of kissing the feet of our political leaders, a true blessing. But we note with sadness that they have not been sufficiently moved by his humble example and so far they have not demonstrated the political will for peace; violence still persists. We pray that they will find it within themselves to take the necessary steps to bring true peace to our suffering”.

Bishops’ expressed their frustration at the slow pace implementation of the peace agreement, adding that true peace does not come merely by signing papers or sharing power amongst elites: rather, hearts must be changed and the root causes of the conflicts must be addressed.

The Bishops’ called on inter-faith sisters and brothers to be strong in faith and hope to continue working for justice and peace.

In 2016 Sr. Dr. Veronika was murdered in Yei; in November 2020, a Jesuit priest Fr. Victor Odhiambo was killed in Rumbek; in April 25 2021, the Bishop-elect was attacked in Rumbek; and in 16 Aug 2021 two Sisters were killed in road ambush at Juba Nimuel Highway.

So far, none of the killers has been brought to justice.

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