“There will be Holy Mass every evening at 5:00 pm starting from today, Tuesday,” the member of the Clergy of South Sudan’s only Archdiocese adds.
Sr. Mary Daniel, the immediate former Superior General of SHS who was serving as the Head Teacher of Usratuna Primary School in Juba, and Sr. Regina, a Tutor and Administrator at the Catholic Health Training Institute (CHTI) in South Sudan’s Wau Diocese, were returning to Juba from Centenary celebrations in South Sudan’s Torit Diocese.
In a statement dated Tuesday, August 17, SHS Superior General recalls the events of Monday, August 16 leading to what she describes as “the cruel deaths” of two members of the Catholic Institute.
“The two Sisters were part of the 12 passengers (7 Sisters and 5 men) on a Costa bus returning to Juba from the Centenary Celebration of Loa Catholic Parish dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption,” Sr. Alice Jurugo Drajea says.
The Costa bus that had left Loa Parish around 7.30 a.m. on the fateful day had hardly traveled for about an hour when it “ran into an ambush of armed men who opened gunfire,” Sr. Drajea had recounted.
Suspecting that the male passengers would be the first targets of the gunmen, Sr. Drajea says, the driver of the bus ordered them to alight from the bus and to flee.
Four Sisters also attempted to flee while three elderly Sisters remained on the bus, the SHS Superior narrates, and adds, “The gunmen intended to burn the (three Sisters) in the bus as they did a small car in front of the bus. Thank God, they (had) neither a lighter nor petrol to start off the fire.”
While the male passengers fled into the bush alongside four Sisters, Sr. Drajea narrates, “the armed men followed and shot two of the Sisters, namely, Sr. Mary Daniel Abut and Sr. Regina Roba.”
Two male persons who were on the bus were among the dead, Eye Radio reported and added that “a boda-boda rider also died after he was knocked down by a speeding truck - fleeing from the attack. This brings the total number of the deceased to 5.”
In his August 17 statement, the Secretary General of Juba Archdiocese says the Archdiocesan Administration, women and men Religious and the Clergy in South Sudan’s only Metropolitan See “are saddened with the news about the untimely passing on of Sr. Mary Daniel Abut and Sr. Regina Roba after being shot by gunmen.”
Pope Francis has offered his “heartfelt condolences” to the families and Religious community of the two South Sudanese Catholic Nuns.