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Diocese and State in South Sudan to Pay 93 Cows to Compensate Girls in Dormitory Inferno

This is the dormitory where a fire took place in Tonj, South Sudan.

The Catholic diocese of Rumbek and Tonj State government in South Sudan are expected to pay a total of 93 cows to the families of the three girls who died in last month’s dormitory inferno as compensation.

Three young girls who were attending school at Don Bosco Mission, Tonj in Rumbek diocese died March 21 night when a fire razed their dormitory.

Following the incident, the local police detained Sr. Clare Nakhumicha Wekesa of the Sisters of Mary of Kakamega who heads the community of nuns responsible for the girls’ boarding facility. She was released Tuesday, April 2 having stayed seven days in detention.

“The Catholic Diocese of Rumbek and the government of Tonj state have agreed to pay a reparation to the two families of the three boarding girls who died as a result of fire in Tonj,” Good News Radio of the Catholic diocese of Rumbek reported Thursday.

The radio report described the decision for the compensation as an “out of court settlement with reference to customary law, which requires 31 herds of cattle as compensation for an unintended killing”.

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The state government of Tonj through the office of the governor offered to pay 62 cows as compensation for two girls while the Catholic diocese of Rumbek is expected to settle the balance of 31 cows.

Various sources from Rumbek diocese told CANAA that the average cost of a cow in the local market is USD. 300.00.

Good News Radio quoted the Deputy Governor of Tonj State, Santino Diing Wek as confirming the compensation agreement, explaining that the decision was aimed at reducing “the tension of the aggrieved families as well as” responding to the pleas from the local community to resume services at Don Bosco Mission.

The mission offers education and health services to residents of Tonj state and beyond.

“At the moment all activities came to stand still, school closed, hospital closed and Sister and Priest are indoors so traumatised living in fear of revenge,” the Education Field Coordinator of the diocese of Rumbek, Robinson Odong Wani told CANAA Wednesday.

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The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

According to Good News Radio, the state government of Tonj is urging “everyone to get involved in finding the culprit who burnt the girls’ boarding” facility.