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South Sudan bishop urges peace, says attack on nuns shakes church


By Bronwen Dachs

Catholic News Service


YAMBIO, South Sudan (CNS) — An attack on religious sisters at a teacher training college in South Sudan has shaken and saddened the church, a church leader said, while urging people of faith to demand the implementation of the latest peace accord to end the civil war.

Violence and fear-mongering seem “rampant in both church and society” in the northeast African country, said Bishop Edward Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio.

Five armed men, believed to be allied to South Sudan’s main rebel group, assaulted and threatened religious sisters at the Solidarity Teacher Training College in Yambio, the capital of the country’s Western Equatoria state, Dec. 28.

After climbing the fence surrounding the college, the men confronted the nuns, who were locking up the building for the night, and demanded guns, cash, phones and computers, De La Salle Brother Bill Firman, director of Solidarity with South Sudan, said in a statement.

“Of course the sisters had no guns, but handed over the other items” and the men drove away in two cars, Firman said.

“It was clearly a planned attack, but the assailants were not familiar with the compound,” he said, noting that it was “a very traumatic incident, but there were no casualties.”

More than 100 people have been killed since May in Western Equatoria, which until then had been relatively peaceful in war-torn South Sudan. In early December, violent battles erupted between armed groups in Yambio.

Solidarity with South Sudan is a Catholic missionary group implementing teacher and health training, agriculture, trauma healing and pastoral programs in many parts of South Sudan, under the auspices of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

Fifty students graduated from the college mid-November and were to teach in primary schools around South Sudan.

Copyright (c) 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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