The Slovak SSpS medical doctor with specialization in tropical diseases was returning to the Convent after having taken a patient to Harvest Hospital in Yei when the 15 May 2016 midnight attack happened.
After undergoing two surgeries at the Hospital for Women and Children in Yei, Sr. Veronika, who was 58 at the time, was airlifted to Nairobi the following day for specialized treatment.
Three suspected Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Soldiers were reportedly arrested in connection with the attack on the missionary Nun.
In South Sudan, Sr. Veronika had “served in various capacities as SSpS community leader, medical doctor and Director of St Bakhita Health Center, Yei,” a 25 May 2016 report by the SSpS Communication Office indicates.
“Sr. Veronika was a committed, generous and joyful missionary,” the Communication team of SSpS leadership reported, adding, “Her death is an irreparable loss for us, for her family and for the people she served especially in Yei.”
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“It is our hope and prayer that the self-giving of Sr. Veronika will herald a new beginning for peace and reconciliation in South Sudan,” SSpS leadership implored.
Her remains were flown from Nairobi to South Sudan’s Yei Diocese on 27 May 2016 where she was laid to rest.
At the fifth death anniversary of Sr. Veronika, in May 2021, the then Local Ordinary of Yei Diocese thanked the lawyers involved in the case for “trying their best” to trace witnesses.
“We are happy with lawyers who are trying their best (in) our civil court here in Yei to see where the witnesses may be and those others who might have pointed the gun at Sister, to the point of even killing her,” Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe said on 20 May 2021.
Bishop Tombe added, “We are in touch with the lawyers who are following the case. It will take long as you know legal issues take many years, but we hope it will not be so long unless it is politicized.”
The South Sudanese Catholic Bishop underscored the need for justice, saying the Church “cannot allow injustice to continue to destroy the world and so the case of Sister Veronika which is ongoing, is going too long but legal procedures are like that and we are to follow it until we get justice before the court.”
At the sixth death anniversary of Sr. Veronika, a SSpS member serving in South Sudan urged authorities in the country to work toward delivering justice for her murdered Sister.
“We continue to pray for justice for Sister Veronika … We are still waiting for whatever decision the government will take on the murder of the Sister,” Sr. Beni Gilda said on 16 May 2022, and added, “I ask all of us here in Yei to be courageous despite the situation.”
Kerbino Kuel Deng is a South Sudanese journalist who is passionate about Church communication. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.