AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Catholic priests and Protestant pastors in the forefront to save lives: a testimony to Fides

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - The ongoing political conflict in South Sudan between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar, has now put the two main tribes in the country in contrast: Dinka and Nuer.
But according to testimony gathered by Fr. Mark Oper Omolm, a south Sudanese priest, and sent to Fides Agency, several religious of both ethnic groups have worked to protect and save many lives. "What these people have done deserves to be told publicly to strongly emphasize the role that Churches can play in shaping the future of our Country", says Fr Mark.
Here are the episodes reported by the priest:
"Abraham Makuac, an Evangelical Pastor from Dinka saved lives of several Nuer in the aftermath of the fighting in Juba. Despite having lost a brother in the fighting (brutally killed), he opened his house and Church to protect and save innocent civilians.
Micheal Abang, a Presbyterian pastor from Shilluk, also worked strenuously to save human lives during the fighting in Malakal. He generously offered shelter and safety in his house and Church to displaced families from Dinka and Nuer. In the aftermath of the fighting, he was seen participating in the collection of dead bodies and arrangement for their burials.
Fr. Paulino Lual, a Catholic priest of Franciscan Order, hailing from Dinka, created a network of volunteers from Dinka to protect the Nuer population in Aweil. This priest is known for his courage and firmness in condemning tribalism, corruption and all sort of social ills in the country. He missed narrowly being murdered by soldiers from his own ethnic group, who were angered by the protection he was according to Nuer civilians.
Fr. Joseph Makuei, a Catholic priest from Nuer, also organized volunteers from his ethnic group to protect and save human lives in Bentiu. He personally, together with the volunteers, participated in accompanying members of Dinka community to the UN premises for safety". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 08/01/2014)