Episcopal Church of South Sudan clergy singled out for attack in Yei
CMS-Ireland recently received a troubling update about an incident in Yei town, South Sudan, in which church leaders were attacked and injured. The attack took place around midnight on 25 July. In all, five households were targeted, with eight people badly injured and their money and possessions stolen.
This is the latest in a series of brutal attacks on church leaders in Yei and surrounding areas. The Bishop of Yei, Right Reverend Hilary Luate Adeba, is certain that the Church has become a specific target for violence. As Bishop Hilary indicates, this represents a significant challenge for the Church’s presence and ministry in the midst of the conflict.
“From the start of the crisis in Yei last July, (the local church leaders) took a firm decision together to remain in town with the people. They saw this as being important and a fulfillment of their moral and spiritual obligation to give encouragement to the people and to strengthen the weak, the abandoned, the widows, the hungry, the dying, the scared and the vulnerable. It was a very serious sacrifice made to remain in Yei at a time when security had broken down and our members were being killed at ease.
“The mediating role of the church and the work of advocacy for peace is being undermined by such atrocities.”
CMSI facilitates partnership links between dioceses, parishes and individuals in Ireland and four dioceses in South Sudan. Down and Dromore has close links with Maridi Diocese in the neighbouring province.
These relationships have been a significant source of encouragement and support for the Church at this time of upheaval. For example, emergency donations made through CMSI have been used to support Yei Diocese by:
- Providing food and shelter for pastors and families in Yei town
- Providing food for children attending primary school
- Establishing an operational base for the diocese in Arua, Uganda
- Providing logistical support for Bishop Hilary’s work in refugee camps in Uganda
Despite the many obstacles and obvious risks, the Church in South Sudan continues to be a source of life, love and hope for those whose lives have been devastated by conflict and famine. They need our continued prayers, friendship and support.