Pastors killed in Bor

14 February 2014

by a staff reporter

A NUMBER of elderly women church workers have been killed in a church compound in South Sudan, as part of a massacre of 2500 people, the Christian news service World Watch Monitor has reported.

The women had fled to the Episcopal church compound in Bor, a town that changed hands between rebel and government forces several times in the clashes that broke out before Christmas (News, 7 February).

Five of the women, who were all in their 60s and 70s, were pastors in the church, and a sixth was a Reader. It is reported that they were raped before they were shot.

They were among about 2500 people who are thought to have been killed in Bor by rebels who are known as the White Army, because its fighters rub white ash over their bodies.

"I believe the White Army attacked and killed the women hiding in the church compound. It is very disturbing to know they were abused before being killed," the deputy general secretary of the South Sudan Council of Churches, the Revd Mark Akec-Cien, said.

"I don't think they were killed because they were Christians. The militia had also attacked, looted, and destroyed shops, businesses, homes, and other churches."

South Sudan has been in turmoil since 15 December, after President Salva Kiir alleged that his former Vice-President, Riek Machar, was planning a coup ( News, 20 December). Fighting spread, and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced.

A ceasefire was agreed at the end of January. Peace talks were due to resume this week, but rebel delegates failed to attend them, saying that the government had not respected the terms of the ceasefire deal.

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