Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, World Council of Churches (WCC) interim general secretary, joined the South Sudan Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches in condemning recent violent killings of innocent people in South Sudan, and called to an end to brutality in the country.
Expressing profound sorrow and offering condolences and prayers for the families of the victims and for the wounded, Sauca added that “in the face of brutality, the human family must stand together to recommit to respecting and protecting one another, and to preventing such violence,” he said. “Killing children and innocents is against any principles of our faith and denies the very identity of being Christian.”
Appealing to all communities and groups to reject violence, Sauca said, “after years of insecurity and instability it should be clear that violence is not the solution to the challenges in South Sudan.” He called upon those who masterminded such attacks to desist from violence and ensure a sense of calmness in these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At least 23 people were killed and 20 others were wounded when unidentified gunmen stormed a church compound in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan’s Diocese of Athooch in Jonglei state on 27 July. The assailants took six children as hostages.
In a statement issued on 6 August, the All Africa Conference of Churches expressed that “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.”
The All Africa Conference of Churches called on all parties to the conflict in South Sudan to condemn all kinds of violence, and to refrain from using it to destroy their fellow citizens. It also called on the regional and international bodies, such as the East African Community, Intergovernmental Authority for Development, African Union and United Nations Security Council “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,” reads a statement.
On 1 August, three little children were slaughtered by an unidentified person in the absence of their parents in Rock City neighborhood in the capital Juba.
In a 5 August statement, the South Sudan Council of Churches condemned the murder of the children. “This is a barbaric, heinous and demonic act that cannot be tolerated,” reads the statement. “Children are to be loved, protected, nurtured, and cared for by the community and society; they are not to be take advantage of, neglected or abused.”
Describing children as a wonderful gift from God, the statement mourns the loss of so many children in South Sudan. “We also pray to the almighty God to comfort the bereaved family in this very difficult time of great loss,” reads the statement.