, 04 August, 2020 / 8:58 PM
The news of the brutal murder of three young girls in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, has been received with sadness and shock with two Catholic Prelates in the nine-year-old nation terming the incident as sad and shocking.
The lifeless bodies of the three siblings, Lydia Edward, nine, Blessings Edward, seven, and their four-year-old sister Nura Edward, were on Saturday, August 1 found in their house in Juba where they were reportedly watching television.
Authorities that spoke to South Sudanese media reported that the incident by unknown assailants occurred when the mother of the three children was away.
“According to the preliminary report, the mother had left home around 12 p.m. and left the children watching television on that fateful day. After she returned home, she found her children dead,” police spokesman Daniel Justin told Sudan’s Post.
The South Sudanese police boss explained, “When the mother returned home, she found the television was still on and blood was everywhere in the house. We want to tell the public that we are seriously following-up on the incident. No arrests have been made so far, but we are gathering information.”
Speaking to ACI Africa Tuesday, August 4, the Archbishop of Juba, Stephen Ameyu expressed his bewilderment at the news of the gruesome murder.
“It is the first time I hear of such a murderous act done to little ones and I was saddened to the depth of my heart because these little children have no enemy in this world,” Archbishop Ameyu told ACI Africa.
He added, “I would like to call upon our people in South Sudan to return to their traditional way of life, from our traditional way of life, women, and children were always considered innocent and even at the time of war, they were always spared.”
Archbishop Ameyu went on to appeal to the citizens of South Sudan “to examine their hearts, their consciences whether something is lacking, like the fear towards God.”
“Are we afraid of God? Do we have God, the almighty God?” the South Sudanese Archbishop posed and reiterated, “Let us examine our hearts each time and think of our own lives spared by the almighty God to live for at least sometimes.”
“We have taken the mighty power as human beings to kill the innocent, the precious life that God has given. No one has a right to kill anybody else,” Archbishop Ameyu said during the August 4 interview with ACI Africa.
On his part, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of South Sudan’s Diocese of Tombura-Yambio has termed the incident as heartbreaking and prayed for mercy on behalf of the whole country.
“This tragedy in our nation is truly heartbreaking. We ask for God's peace and mercy on our society and nation. Please join me in prayer during this time of mourning,” Bishop Hiiboro said.
He went on to express his shock on the killing of the innocent and helpless children, saying, “What kind of monstrous cowards can sneak up on defenseless children and slaughter them in their home?”
Bishop Hiiboro appealed to law enforcement agents in the country to find the killers and to subject them to “the full weight of the law in justice!”
“This never again!” he said, expressing his anger at the murder that has reportedly attracted the wrath of South Sudanese, both locally and abroad.
The South Sudanese Prelate noted that the fundamental component of a person’s human dignity is the right to life and said that no one has the right to take it.
He called on the people of God in South Sudan “to stand united in lifting up the right to life in the face of those who would use violence and intimidation to squash it.”
In his message seen by ACI Africa, Bishop Hiiboro expressed frustrations that despite there being widespread condemnation by those in high power of the killing, little was being done in the country to demonstrate a consistent implementation of justice.
He exuded confidence that the siblings’ murder would trigger a consistent vigilance and a responsibility to protect the lives of others in the country.
He prayed for those who had suffered death and violence “for God to grant them peace and reassurance that they are not forgotten by Him or by all those who not only witness their plight but strive to advocate for them.”
“We also pray for those in positions of authority and influence that they may be advocates for all those entrusted into their care. Finally, and not of least importance we pray for those who perpetrate these crimes, that they once again become conscious of the true value of every life that appears to be dispensable in their eyes,” Bishop Hiiboro said.
He implored, “May the Angels of the Almighty God welcome Lydia, Blessings and Nura to Heaven. Amen!”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa