By Yang Ater Yang.
Unknown person has burnt St. Emmanuel parish church in Akuac residential area of Rumbek Central County, into ashes.
According to police, the incident occurred at 11:30 PM on Saturday night.
A member of St. Emmanuel parish in Rumbek central county, Paulo Malual Akec said somebody reportedly came at night and burned down the church.
“The church burned completely but all the Christians who were around the area tried to open the door and pick out the chairs, microphone and other equipment which were in the church,” he said.
He said the morning when people came, they got the church was burnt and they sat to pray outside.
“The congregation prayed outside” he said.
According to Malual, this was the second time for the church to be set ablaze following one that happened last year.
“Some people came and burned the church, but it was rescued by the people around because he was trying to burn the church in the early hours of the evening at 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM. so people rushed and they rescued the church,” he recalled.
Malual said this time the incident took place at around 11:30 PM and the weather was very cold everybody was asleep.
“As a Christian the church is not a structure, churches are the people. But people who pray inside the church are the church”, he said.
He said the person did not only burn the Christian church but the house with grass and the equipment inside the church.
Police spokesperson, Elijah Mabor Makuac said it was very unfortunate that the church of Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) was set on fire and burned into ashes by unknown person.
“Infact, I witnessed it myself the crime scenes of incident and it was very sad. The church has completely burned into ashes and there was nothing left just only the wall of the church “, he said
He said that when police tried to inquire, the members narrated somebody just came at 11:30 PM and set the church on fire and all those who witnessed the fire tried their level best to rescue but nothing was possible.
“People went into the church, and they managed to rescue few chairs and the church completely burnt. This is the information which we have this morning, and the issue is very unfortunate “, he said.
He said the perpetrator was not identified but up to now all the security apparatus are working on it to detect and apprehend the perpetrator.
“Now our personnel are still working on that”, he urges.
The police officer urges the public in Lakes State to cooperate and avail information that could lead to identification of the suspect behind the crime.
“We are asking you to cooperate with us and help to detect this person in the community,” the officer said..
A pastor in charge of St. Emmanuel parish church, Angelina Awur Apollo said only God knows the intensions of burning the church, not anybody.
High Deacon, Gabriel Majok Mayom who uses to provide church prayers in St. Emmanuel church said only unknown person committed the crime.
“We have never seen him but God knows is the one who sees him. We the congregation of St. Emmanuel parish in Akuac is requesting people of South Sudan and from God to forgive that person” he prayed.
According to the deacon, the only thing the Christians are requesting and looking for are people who can help and support the Church
“We don’t have chairs and we don’t have other materials and things which we were using during the previous were burned down with that church, we have five fans, microphones, and other decorations and other items for the church which have been burned into ashes,” he said.
Majok said when the church caught fire, we tried to rescue some chairs and tables and we put them outside.
according to him, it was not a first time for the church to be burned, saying the first happened in February 2021 where unknown person attempted to burn it and it was rescued by those who were around the church and the suspect fled.
The deacon said God is the biggest police and the one who knows the person who did that.
He added that no Christian ever went to any police station to register the burning of the church.
“My message to South Sudanese is that we are requesting the prayers let that person repent for what he did. He did not do it to the people but he did it to God and God will forgive him and we are requesting for prayer so that God helps us and forgive us always “, he said.