National, News

Church names army in manhandling clerics, Christians

By Bida Elly David

Central Equatoria Internal Provence Anglican Communion (CEIPAC) holds South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) responsible for attacking, torturing, and looting Christians in Yei River County.

In a statement seen by No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, the church Bishops stated that SSPDF soldiers on the 24th and 25th invaded Nyori and Mongo Archdeaconries and attacked, looted, and tortured Christians of the Episcopal Church.

“We, the Bishops, the Clergies, and the entire Christians of Central Equatoria Internal Province would like to express our deepest sadness over attacks, torture, looting, and arrest of the clergy of Episcopal Church of South Sudan by the mobile force of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces in Nyori and Mongo Payam of Yei River County of Central Equatoria State,” the statement reads in part.

In their statement, the clergy noted that the army further apprehended a Rev. Pastor of the Episcopal Church in Agonyakiri parish of Nyori deaconry.

However, the statement did not state the statistics of the tortured and arrested Christians as well as the pastors in the deanery.

“The mobile force further arrested and tortured Rev. Seme Mawa, the pastor of Agonyakiri parish of Nyori Archdeaconry, and took him captive to Lasu military barracks,” the clerics added.

The bishops underscored that the same SSPDF forces participated in the looting of properties, including the religious belongings of one of the clergy in the episcopal zone.

“They also looted belongings, including the clerical attire of Rev. Hillary Luate Moses, the rural dean of Ombasi deanery of Mongo archdeaconry,’’ they added.

ECSS church leaders condemned the tragedy and called for the release of their apprehended pastor.

“We condemned in the strongest way possible the attack, the looting, and the torture of Christians and the arrest of ECSS clerics by mobile force of the SSPDF in Yei River County,” the statement echoes.

The church urged the SSPDF authority to probe the incident and hold the perpetrators accountable.

“We call for the immediate release of Rev. Seme Mawa, for the investigation of the incidents, and to hold those responsible accountable,” they appealed.

However, SSPDF spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper in response to the accusation, that the leadership of the army will make an informed statement after consultation.

“We came across it but will not be able to reply until after consultation. We are going to bring the allegation to the attention of the leadership,” Lul told this outlet on the phone yesterday.

Recently, the Rwonyi Boma community in Yei River County and the SSPDF formally ratified a locally driven agreement aimed at bolstering civil-military relations in the area.

The three-day dialogue under the theme “Let us build peace together for sustainable development in Yei River County,” focused on nurturing trust and building confidence through reconciliation, concluded with reconciliation and forgiveness.

The main goal of the discourse was to usher in peaceful co-existence, tolerance, acceptance, and social cohesion between civilians and armed forces.

It was believed that the discourse between the army and the community would once and for all restore peace, but the accusation has triggered another saga.



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