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Don’t loot church and civil properties – Catholic clergy

By Bida Elly David

Catholic clergies of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Juba have warned the army against looting properties of the Church meant to serve the Lord.

This concern came following the brutal conflict in Sudan that impact the church, its faithful as well as its assets.

Archbishop of the Metropolitan Catholic Archdiocese of Juba, Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla warned the army against blasphemy urging people to respect the papal message of peace during his visit in February.

He urged the international community to take a firm stand to end the conflict between the two warring sides in Sudan as deaths and displacement continue to rise since the conflict erupted in mid-April 2023.

Archbishop Ameyu noted that the Sudanese military conflict in residential areas had risked parishes in Khartoum as priests and religious leaders flee to South Sudan.

He said that the Priests and other religious leaders have flocked into the town of Al Masalma in the Khartoum district and will have to move further away to South Sudan.

“The (fighting) will end for the Sudanese people if the fighters would listen to the papal message and get serious. I know many people have made an appeal and they did not listen,” Archbishop Ameyu told OSV News.

Speaking to OSV News platform on Wednesday, Rev. James Oyet Latansion the secretary general of South Sudan Council of states condemned the destruction of church properties, market and hospitals by the military men in Sudan.

He said that the brutal act against civilians and the church by the uniformed men in Sudan is a fight against the supernatural being (God) who protects his people unconditionally.

“All church properties have been taken by the armed groups. The markets have been looted and the church and its faithful are targets” he said.

The clergies said the church in Sudan needs help from the international community.

A deadly Sudanese war triggered on April 15 has spread chaos across the predominantly Islam and Arab country. For one month, the regular army — Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) — led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary — Rapid Support Forces (RSF) — commanded by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, have traded heavy gunfire, artillery and aerial bombs.

The two sides have accepted several humanitarian ceasefire agreements and held peace in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea city of Jeddah, but the fighting has not stopped.

The precise death toll is not known but it is in the hundreds of lives and thousands more have been injured. Families are still trapped in their homes without food, water and medicines, among other basic necessities, as soldiers fight in street battles.

On May 13, six gunmen attacked a Coptic church in Khartoum, killing four people, including a priest and his son. On April 24, two rockets struck the premises of Mary Queen of Africa Catholic Cathedral in El Obeid Diocese.

The blasts destroyed parts of the priests’ house and the cathedral’s main gate. According to Archbishop Mulla, the cathedral in Khartoum also has been vandalized and the house of the Comboni missionaries destroyed, after they were struck with rockets.

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