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Gunmen kill dean and set fire to cathedral in South Sudan

14 August 2020

MIKE QUINLAN

St Luke’s Cathedral, Makol Chuei, in Athoock diocese, before the attack on 27 July

St Luke’s Cathedral, Makol Chuei, in Athoock diocese, before the attack on 27 July

THE Dean of St Luke’s Cathedral, Makol Chuei, in South Sudan, the Very Revd Daniel Garang Ayuen, has been shot dead, together with 32 others, in an attack in which the cathedral and the entire village were set ablaze.

Gunmen stormed the cathedral compound in Makol Chuei, in the diocese of Athooch, in an attack two weeks ago.

The Bishop of Athooch, the Rt Revd Moses Anur Ayam, said: “The incident that has happened at Athooch diocese left 31 people dead, including Dean of cathedral, Daniel Garang Ayuen. Things have been burned down including the whole compound of the church. Bishop’s accommodation has been burned.”

At least 14 women and children who had sought refuge in the church’s compound were killed. Six children were abducted by the attackers and later killed.
In a later attack in a different village, Jalle, an archdeacon, the Ven. Jacob Amanjok, was killed, and three pastors.

The All Africa Conference of Churches called on regional and international bodies to “take this attack as an assault on world peace, and demand for the full implement­­­­­­­­ation of the long delayed peace agreement in South Sudan [News, 20 December 2019], to bring to a stop the intercommunal violence. The people of South Sudan deserve to live in peace to develop their lives and their coun­try.”
In a letter to the Primate of South Sudan, the Most Revd Justin Badi Arama, the Conference said: “We join you in mourning as we remember all those who succumbed, as well as praying for the quick recovery of the 20 people who were wounded.

“It is particularly distressing that the attackers killed all the children they abducted in the bush. These are innocent souls who do not even have any idea as to what the conflict is all about, and to kill them is very cruel. We pray for their families, their friends, and the extended community that grieves this loss.”

The interim general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Revd Professor Ioan Sauca, said: “After years of insecurity and instability, it should be clear that violence is not the solution to the challenges in South Sudan.”

Although the majority of South Sudan’s population are Christian, they are from many different tribes. Inter-communal violence has scarred the country and cost thousands of lives.

Eighty-one people were killed in further clashes last weekend in South Sudan. Fighting broke out between government forces who were carrying out a disarmament exercise and armed civilians, the United Nations reported. A peacekeeping patrol was being sent to the area.

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