Catholic Archbishop Decries Violence in South Sudanese State, Says “work of the devil”

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin of South Sudan's Juba Archdiocese. Credit: Radio Bakhita/Facebook

The Catholic Archbishop of Juba in South Sudan has decried the reported violent clashes in the country’s Eastern Equatoria State, and said the violence being witnessed is “work of the devil”.

On March 21, local authorities in Eastern Equatoria State confirmed that seven people had been killed and hundreds of villagers displaced when rustlers clashed with cattle herders in the Owinykibul area of Magwi County.

Speaking at the fundraising program for renovation of All Saints Parish Church of Juba Archdiocese, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin said the reported deadly conflict is the “work of the devil” who wants to divide the people of South Sudan along ethnic and regional lines.

“This violence is not brought by anybody but it is brought by the devil, the evil one who wants to separate us along the tribes and regions and along all the clans,” Archbishop Ameyu said.

He added, “The nature of the violence is the devil and he wants to separate people by violence; once you kill my people then I react and kill you. It’s a devilish work not from a particular tribe.” 


“We can’t be violent, because violence is unnecessary,’’ the South Sudanese Archbishop said.

On March 26, Eastern Equatoria State officials and Jonglei community leaders agreed to a planned reconciliation conference to restore relations between the host communities and pastoralists in Magwi County.

The reported violent conflict in Magwi County adds to the number of violent clashes recorded in parts of the East-Central African nation in recent weeks.

Last week, renewed fighting broke out between South Sudan’s army and the armed opposition forces, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO). The clashes, which started in Maiwuy County over the last weekend, reportedly spread to Longechuk County.

South Sudan’s army and the SPLA-IO opposition group led by the country’s first Vice-President, Dr. Riek Machar, have accused each other over who violated the ceasefire agreement in Upper Nile State County.

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Speaking at the March 27 fundraiser, Archbishop Ameyu said there is violence across the East-Central African nation, and with “tribes turning against each other.”

The Local Ordinary of Juba Archdiocese who doubles as the Apostolic Administrator of Torit Diocese further said, “We must ask ourselves why have we turn against each other.”

He appealed to the people of God to “pray hard” in order to stop the devil from destroying the world’s youngest nation that gained independence from Sudan in July 2011.

“We must pray hard because the devil wants to destroy the nation and if we do not pray like Christians, if we want to serve other gods we will perish and the nation will perish,” the 58-year-old Catholic Church leader said.

He made reference to the planned visit of Pope Francis to South Sudan saying, “With the coming of the Holy Father let us prepare and make a tournament of prayers that the Holy Father comes here and leaves us with strengthened hope, love, faith; and that is what we need.”


Patrick Juma Wani is a South Sudanese journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. Patrick holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from Makerere Institute for Social Development (MISD) in Uganda. He has over 7 years of extensive experience in leading the development and implementation of media, advocacy, communication and multimedia strategy and operations, with an excellent track record of editorial leadership, budget management, and stakeholder outreach. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.