He continued, “These unknown gunmen must not be unknown because they are known by God with a number of their rivals; they are known by God, and they are known by some of us because the killing of the two Sisters was not a killing only of one person who comes and kill one and kill the other. It was a group assault on the bus of the Sisters. The car of the sisters was clearly Mark with the Divine Master picture on the window. They were murdered because they are Sisters.”
The Local Ordinary of Juba Archdiocese described the killing of the two Sisters as “a sad moment for us in South Sudan.” He added, “We must stand against all the negative things of our lives. If we shut all these things, these two Sisters would have not perished in this way.”
“We must reflect on the dignity of a human person first. No one has the right to take any life of any person, even if he's a criminal,” he said, and reiterated, “We do not have the right to take the life of any person. But it is unfortunate that all of us have experienced this sadness one day or another.”
The Archbishop further prayed for conversion of hearts saying, “The Grace of conversion is always there. We must convert. We must change into doing good things for ourselves in order to salvage our Church. And in order to salvage our nation, we must do good things, not killing people, not killing Sisters, not killing innocent people.”
South Sudanese Catholic Bishops who graced the Funeral Mass of the late Sr. Mary Daniel Abut and Sr. Regina Roba at St. Theresa's Kator Cathedral of Juba Archdiocese on 20 August 2021. Credit: Fr. John Lo'boka Morris, AJ/Juba
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“The souls of these two Sisters are in the hands of God. God has given them tests all their lives and their life has been found worthy. That's why the Lord is to take them back to Himself. We are from God and to God we must return,” the South Sudanese Archbishop said.
He added, “We need to identify with one another in order to offer our prayers to God so that God can open our hearts. Our hearts of stones should be removed and transformed to hearts of flesh.”
Also addressing the faithful during the Funeral Mass, Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe of Yei Diocese said the leadership of the Church would not be accept intimidation, and cautioned those operating in “bushes” against targeting church members.
Bishop Lodu urged the South Sudanese government to work hard to protect its citizens.
The speaker of South Sudan’s Revitalized National assembly, Jemma Nunu Kumba, described the killing of Sr. Abut and Sr. Roba a “a targeted attack on the Church, women and Mothers of South Sudan.”
The killing of women in cold blood “is moral decomposition”, she decried, and challenged the people of God in the 10-year-old nation to support the government in renewing the moral stage of South Sudan.
On his part, the Deputy Governor of Central Equatoria State, Sarah Nene, condemned the killing of the two SHS members and described the August 16 incident as “a terror” attack.
She said the State and national governments would work toward ensuring “that the perpetrators are brought to face the law because it was a purposeful murder.”
Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.