A child among the wounded
(Photo: © Episcopal Church of Sudan)
A massacre in Jonglei State has exposed deep fears for Sudan's peace process and prompted an international appeal by its archbishop
Organised attackers shot dead a priest at the altar and murdered more than 40 other men, women and children in Southern Sudan.
The killings took place in Wernyol, a town in Twic East County, Jonglei State, and were politically motivated, according to the Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Most Rev Dr Daniel Deng Bul.
Among those murdered, Archdeacon Joseph Mabior Garang was shot dead as
he conducted a service of Morning Prayer in the church at Wernyol.
“In the view of the church, this was not a tribal conflict as commonly reported, but a deliberately organized attack on civilians by those that are against the peace in Southern Sudan,” the archbishop stated in an appeal to international leaders.
He issued the appeal after getting reports of the killings on Saturday 29 August.
“I have learnt from Episcopal Church sources on the ground that the attackers were well armed with new automatic weapons, dressed in army uniforms, and appeared well-organized and properly trained.”
The Archbishop said this confirmed fears he had expressed in an earlier appeal in May this year. He said ancient tribal conflicts were being stirred up by those who wished to disrupt the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
In that appeal, he urged the international donor community to work more closely with the church, which was “one of the most effective ground-level players in the peace process”.
Further destabilisation is being caused by the Lord’s Resistance Army, still active in Southern Sudan. On 12–13 August, they murdered three people, including an Episcopal Church lay reader and abducted several children from the church building in Ezo.
The violence has left 24,000 people displaced in Twic County and 15,000 displaced in Ezo County.
“Continuing violence such as this is not only a crime against the innocent people killed and injured, it is a crime against the peace of the Sudan and if left unchecked will do great damage to the smooth implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA),” said the Archbishop.
People of the South were already frustrated at the slow implementation of the CPA and selected dates for voting in forthcoming elections were after the start of the wet season when travel would be difficult. This led to a feeling that ordinary Southern Sudanese were being left out of the process, he said.
Read the Archbishop’s full statement
Archbishop’s earlier appeal in May